Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #272561; Unpublished
Judges Servitto, Talbot, and Schuette; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed summary disposition in favor of Allstate Insurance Company, finding that a stopped vehicle was not “involved” in the motor vehicle accident at issue. Defendant Harleysville’s insured loaned her Cadillac Escalade to her boyfriend, Steve Morris. Morris, who was stopped in the westbound lane near a traffic signal, left space between the Escalade and the vehicle in front of him. Allstate’s insured, John Myszkowski, used that space to pull out of a parking lot and into the eastbound lane of traffic. As he pulled into the eastbound lane, he collided with a motorcycle. Another motorcycle went into the ditch to avoid the accident. Three people were injured in the accident and Allstate paid their no-fault PIP benefits. It then brought this action to recoup half of the expenses from Harleysville. The trial court granted Allstate summary disposition, finding that the Escalade was “involved” in the accident because “but for” the existence of the space that Morris left, the accident would not have occurred.
The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for entry of summary disposition in Harleysville’s favor, finding that the Escalade was not involved in the accident. In so finding, the court explained that in order for a stopped vehicle, that is not parked to be involved in an accident, there must be an “active” link to the chain of events. The court reasoned that because the Escalade was stopped in traffic it was not involved in the accident. In this regard, the court stated:
“Vehicles stopped or standing in traffic, that are not parked vehicles under MCL 500.3106, and waiting for a signal or stopped to turn at an intersection are not ‘involved in the accident’ unless there is some ‘active’ as opposed to ‘passive’ link to a chain of occurrences contributing to the accident. . . . The Escalade insured by Harleysville remained stopped in traffic, without any active role in this accident. Thus, it was not ‘involved in the accident.’ MCL 500.3114(5)(a). Harleysville, and not Allstate, was therefore entitled to summary disposition.”