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Smith v Auto-Owners Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 2/11/2000, RB #2255)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #214393; Unpublished
Judges O’Connell, Meter and Hicks; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic

Not applicable

Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Exclusions from Underinsured Motorist Benefits

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff was properly denied underinsured motorist benefits where plaintiff filed a circuit court auto negligence case which was resolved by accepting a mediation evaluation without the written consent of the underinsured motorist insurer. The underinsured motorist coverage in question contained an exclusion barring recovery where the insured party releases a tortfeasor from liability without the insurer’s consent. In this case, that exclusion was violated when the plaintiff took a judgment entered on a mediation award. The court held:

The acceptance of a mediation evaluation is legally equivalent to a consent judgment reached after negotiation and settlement.... Accordingly, defendant’s right to subrogation was clearly impaired, and it did not breach the policy by denying coverage.”

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