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Williams v. Mari Tours & Transportation, et al (COA - UNP 9/17/2020; RB #4150)



Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 348901; Unpublished
Judges Riordan, O’Brien, and Swartzle; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion

Causation Issues  [§3135]

Not Applicable

In this unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the holding of the trial court finding summary disposition in favor of defendant and dismissing plaintiff’s automobile negligence case on the issue of causation based on plaintiff’s failure to provide evidence showing a causal connection between the accident and her injures.

This case arose from an accident in which plaintiff was injured while traveling on a bus. The day after the accident, plaintiff reported to the emergency room complaining of pain in her lower back and abdomen. Plaintiff received a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis and was discharged with an acute muscle strain. Over the period of several months, plaintiff sough treatment from various doctors and underwent an MRI that showed several bulging discs in her spine. Her doctors did not document what caused this issue, and an Independent Medical Examination (IME) indicated that the doctor was “unable to establish a causal relationship between any of [plaintiff’s] current complaints to the accident.” A second IME concluded that plaintiff’s medical issues were not related to the accident but rather “her obesity and chronic degenerative problems.” Plaintiff brough an action for no-fault benefits, and defendant moves for summary disposition, asserting that plaintiff could not establish the threshold requirements for recovery under MCL 500.3135  because she could not establish that her injuries were caused by the accident. The trial court found for defendant.

On appeal, the court noted that while plaintiff claimed she suffered a serious impairment of body function, the proper question was whether plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the motor vehicle accident. In addressing this question, the Court of Appeals noted that proximate causation is a required element of a negligence claim and must be proven by showing the existence of both cause in fact and legal cause. In this case, the Court found that the plaintiff failed to satisfy both cause in fact and legal cause. Specifically, the Court found that plaintiff failed “to present substantial evidence from which a jury may conclude that more likely than not, but-for the defendant’s conduct, the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the [motor vehicle accident].” Further, by contrast, the Court found that defendant had provided sufficient evidence showing that plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the motor vehicle accident. Thus, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the holding of the trial court.

Michigan auto accident attorney Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit

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