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First-Party (PIP) and Third-Party
Motor Vehicle Litigation / January 15, 2019
Court/Case No: Genesee County Circuit Court, 16-107784-NI / Court of Appeals, 339613
Tried/Argued Before: Judge / Panel
Verdict: $0 – Motion for Summary Disposition granted
Name of Judge(s):
Keys to the Case:
At the trial court level, the Plaintiff argued that she sustained serious and permanent accidental bodily injuries after being rear-ended by a commercial vehicle. The Defendant insurer presented evidence proving that the Plaintiff was the sole owner of the vehicle in question, which she failed to insure in violation of the Michigan No-Fault Act. Instead, the Plaintiff’s boyfriend (who was not a relative of the Plaintiff and did not live with the Plaintiff) procured insurance for the Plaintiff’s vehicle. Ultimately, the trial court agreed with the Defendant insurer – granting summary disposition of the Plaintiff’s PIP and third-party claims on the grounds that the Plaintiff’s boyfriend was not an owner of the vehicle. Consequently, the Plaintiff was not entitled to first-party no-fault benefits nor recovery of any non-economic damages.
The Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s ruling. The question before the Court of Appeals was whether the Plaintiff’s boyfriend was an “owner” of the vehicle involved in the accident so that he could validly insure the vehicle under the Michigan No-Fault Act. The Court of Appeals recently affirmed the trial court’s ruling and concluded that the boyfriend was not an owner because he did not use the vehicle in ways that comported with concepts of ownership, i.e., there was no evidence of proprietary or possessory usage by this individual.
Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case: