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Almurisi v Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC (COA – UNP 3/4/2021; RB #4226)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 348805; Unpublished
Judges Swartzle, Beckering and Gleicher; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Exception for Occupants  [§3114(4)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Not Applicable


SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary disposition on the issue of whether defendant was the insurer of the owner or registrant of the vehicle for purposes of meeting the requirements of former MCL 500.3114(4)(a). In doing so, the Court clarified that it was compelled by the holding in Turner v Farmers Ins Exch, __ Mich __; 953 NW2d 204 (2021).

This case arose from a motor vehicle accident in which plaintiff was injured while riding in a rental car rented from defendant Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC. Bashaar Kaid had rented a BMW registered in New York from Avis’ car rental facility.  Avis had self-insured the vehicle, and the vehicle had not been operated in Michigan for more than 30 days within the calendar year. The vehicle was driven to Michigan and involved in an accident in the state. Plaintiff sued Avis for PIP benefits under MCL 500.3114(4)(a) of the Michigan no fault act. The trial court granted summary disposition in favor of Avis.

On appeal, the Court noted that the accident had occurred prior to the effective date of recent amendments to the no fault act. Therefore, the Court held that the pre-amendment version of the act applied. The pre-amended version of MCL 500.3114(4)(a), stated “‘[t]he insurer of the owner or registrant of the vehicle’ involved in an accident must pay PIP benefits to a person who suffered ‘accidental bodily injury’ while occupied in that vehicle.” The Court further noted that the Michigan Supreme Court’s holding in Turner v Farmers Ins Exch, __ Mich __; 953 NW2d 204 (2021) clarified that “an owner or registrant of a vehicle must maintain security for the payment of no-fault benefits (i.e., obtain a no-fault insurer) when the vehicle is either required to be registered in this state or operated in this state for more than 30 days within the calendar year.” Thus, the Court held that, similar to the situation in Turner, Avis was in the business of renting vehicles, and the vehicle involved in the accident was not required to be registered in Michigan and had not been operated in Michigan for more than 30 days within the calendar year. Therefore, defendant was not required to obtain no fault insurance on the vehicle, as Avis was not “[t]he insurer of the owner or registrant of the vehicle” as it related to former MCL 500.3114(4)(a) and was consequently not liable to plaintiff for PIP benefits.

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