United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; Case No. 82-1227; Published
Judges Lively, Engle, and Celebrezze; Unanimous
Official Federal Reporter Citation: ________; Link to Opinion
General / Miscellaneous [§3135]
Disqualification of Uninsured Owners / Operators for Noneconomic Loss [§3135(2)]
In this unanimous published Opinion by Judge Engle, the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, held that the Michigan No-Fault Act did not bar the United States Government from bringing an action seeking recovery for property damage to a government owned vehicle caused by a collision in Michigan with a Michigan registered motor vehicle.
In addressing the issue of whether the provisions of §3135(1) and (2) of the No-Fault Act would bar the government's claim seeking reimbursement for its property damage, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that in the interest of uniformity, it need not recognize a limitation placed by state law upon a traditional right of recovery. That right includes the paramount power of control over its own property by the United States Government, both to prevent its unauthorized use or destruction and to secure indemnity for those injuries. The fact that United States Government's vehicles are not required to be registered in Michigan, coupled with the fact that the No-Fault Act requires security for payment of benefits only for "the owner or registrant of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state" under §3101 (1) is at least some recognition of the unique relationship between the federal government and the property which it owns on behalf of all of the people of the United States. Consequently, the government was entitled to pursue its claim for reimbursement notwithstanding §3135.
[Editor's Note: This case was inadvertently omitted from prior supplements.]