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Godwin v Baggett and Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan; (COA-UNP, 10/6/2000, RB #2257)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #211896; Unpublished
Judges Murphy, Collins and Owens; Owens dissenting; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Not applicable

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Collateral Source Rule
No-Fault Insurer Claims for Reimbursement: Insurer Uninsured Motorist Reimbursement
Uninsured Motorist Benefits: Lien and Reimbursement Rights of Uninsured Motorist Insurers


CASE SUMMARY:
In this 2-1 per curiam opinion regarding a claim for uninsured motorist benefits, the Court of Appeals held that Farm Bureau, as the uninsured motorist insurer, had no obligation to pay uninsured motorist benefits under its policy where an insured driver and an uninsured driver were “jointly and severally liable” for plaintiff’s injuries. Therefore, Farm Bureau, who paid $20,000 to plaintiff under the uninsured motorist provision of its no-fault insurance policy was entitled to be fully reimbursed by plaintiff out of a subsequent tort recovery plaintiff obtained against the insured tortfeasor. Moreover, Farm Bureau was entitled to full reimbursement without reduction for plaintiff’s attorney fees, for the reason that the Farm Bureau policy contained a trust agreement which stated that if plaintiff took future legal action, it must be “through any representative designated by [Farm Bureau].” In light of the fact that plaintiff retained his own counsel to pursue the claim against the insured tortfeasor rather than an attorney designated by Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau was not obligated to reimburse plaintiff for any share of the attorney fees and costs. Finally, the Court of Appeals held that the result in this case was not affected in any way by the “collateral source rule” contained on MCL 600.6303(5).


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