Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #360612; Unpublished|
Judges Kelly, Swartzle, and Feeney; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Applicability of Comparative Fault to Noneconomic Loss Claims [§3135(2)]
In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of Defendant Mary Lychuk’s motion for summary disposition, in which she sought dismissal of Plaintiff Fuad Almaswari’s automobile negligence action. The Court of Appeals held that there was no question of fact that Almaswari—who rear-ended Lychuk’s vehicle on the highway—was more than 50% at-fault for the collision.
Mary Lychuk was driving on the highway when a semitruck unexpectedly swerved in front of her. Lychuk braked and was able to come to a complete stop before crashing into the semitruck, but Fuad Almaswari—who was traveling the same direction but behind Lychuk—was not, and rear-ended Lychuk’s vehicle. Almaswari proceeded to file an auto negligence action against Lychuk, and Lychuk moved for summary disposition, arguing that there was no question of fact that Almaswari was more than 50% at-fault for rear-ending her. The trial court disagreed and denied Lychuk’s motion, finding that a question of fact existed as to whether Lychuk created a sudden emergency for Almaswari—such as would excuse his otherwise prima facie negligent act of rear-ending her—by coming to a complete stop on the highway upon seeing the semitruck cross in front of her.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s summary disposition order, holding that there was no question of fact that Almaswari was more than 50% at-fault for the collision between his vehicle and Lychuk’s. The Court noted that Almaswari was presumptively negligent under MCL 257.402(a), and, as for Almaswari’s invocation of the sudden emergency doctrine, the Court noted that Almaswari testified that he saw the semitruck swerve into his and Lychuk’s lane. Therefore, it was not unexpected for Lychuk to brake and stop her vehicle in order not to crash into the semitruck.
“In this case, plaintiff testified that he saw the semitruck swerve into the parties’ lane and come to a complete stop. Lychuk was able to stop before colliding with the semitruck, while plaintiff was not able to stop before colliding with Lychuk. Under MCL 257.402(a), plaintiff is presumptively negligent for the collision. Further, given that plaintiff testified that he saw the semitruck swerve into the lane, it is not unexpected that Lychuk would have to stop her vehicle to prevent herself from colliding with the semitruck. Thus, there was not a sudden emergency because Lychuk’s stopping was expected. Given these facts, there is no genuine issue of material fact that plaintiff was more than 50% at fault in causing the collision. Under MCL 500.3135(2)(b), plaintiff cannot prevail against Lychuk, and the trial court erred by not granting Lychuk summary disposition.”