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Williams v Whitfield; (COA-UNP, 11/17/2005, RB #2633)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #254906; Unpublished
Judges Murphy, Sawyer, and Meter; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [3101(1)]
Specific Exclusions from Motor Vehicle Definition [3101(2)(e)]
Noneconomic Loss Liability of Uninsured Tortfeasors [3135(1)(3)]

Not Applicable

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals held that where a claim is made against the operator of a motorcycle for injuries received by the passenger on the motorcycle which collided with an automobile, the injured passenger does not need to establish a serious impairment as required under §3135 of the No-Fault Act, because a motorcycle is not a “motor vehicle” as defined in the no-fault statute.

In this case, plaintiff was seeking recovery in tort from the driver of the motorcycle on which he was a passenger. The Court of Appeals held that “because §3135(3) only abolishes tort liability arising from the use of a motor vehicle for which insurance is required, and because a motorcycle is not a ‘motor vehicle’ and is not required to be insured under §3101, tort liability arising from the use of the motorcycle is not abolished.” Therefore, plaintiff did not need to establish a serious impairment of body function as otherwise would be required to fit within the exceptions contained in §3135. The court noted that under §3101(2)(e), a motor vehicle required to provide insurance does not include a “motorcycle or moped.” The court distinguished the previous case of Braden v Spencer, 100 Mich App 523 (1980), because in that case, the plaintiff sought to impose tort liability against the driver of a “motor vehicle” rather than the driver of the motorcycle.

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