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McGhee v Helsel; (COA-PUB, 6/1/2004, RB #2462)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 244125; Published    
Judges Gage, O’Connell, and Zahra; unanimous; Opinion by Judge Zahra
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 262 Mich. App. 221, Link to Opinion

Disqualification of Uninsured Owners / Operators for Noneconomic Loss [3135(2)] 

Not applicable 

In this unanimous published opinion by Judge Zahra, the Court of Appeals held that a non-Michigan resident was entitled to make a claim for non-economic damages under §3135 of the No-Fault Act, even though that person did not have any insurance on her own automobile. The court held that the provisions of §3135(2)(c) did not prevent plaintiff from making a claim because that statute disallowed such claims only in the instance where the injured party did not have in effect for the motor vehicle the security required by §3105 at the time the injury occurred. Section 3101 did not require plaintiff to carry no-fault automobile insurance. A non-resident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle not registered in Michigan must only maintain security if the vehicle is operated in Michigan for an aggregate of more than 30 days in any calendar year. Plaintiff did not exceed this 30 day period and, therefore, was not required to have insurance under Michigan law in order to be able to make a claim and her damages were not barred by the provisions of §3135(2)(c).

The Court of Appeals rejected the trial court’s analysis that it would lead to an “absurd result” to treat an uninsured non-resident motorist differently from an uninsured Michigan resident. Literal application of a statute cannot be set aside merely because a reviewing court deems the result inequitable, unwise, or unintended. “A result is not absurd merely because reasonable people viewing a statute with the benefit of hindsight would conclude that the Legislature acted inprovidently. . . . However distasteful the result in this case may be to this court, it is not an absurd result and it does not give us license to avoid applying the unambiguous language of the no-fault act.”

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