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Reed v Detroit Board of Education and Michigan Mutual Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 10/17/1997; RB #1972)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 192677; Unpublished   
Judges Wahls, Gage, and Nykamp; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   


STATUTORY INDEXING:   
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:   
Not Applicable    


CASE SUMMARY:    
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiff, who was struck by a bullet shot through the window of her bus, was not entitled to receive no-fault benefits because injuries resulting from this kind of conduct are not within the ordinary risks of driving a motor vehicle, and therefore, plaintiffs injury did not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as required by §3105(1) of the no-fault act.   

Plaintiff was employed by the Detroit Board of Education as a school bus driver. A vehicle was attempting to pass her bus, and while doing so, an occupant of the vehicle fired a shot at the bus, shattering the driver's side window. Plaintiff suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of this incident, and was totally disabled from her employment. Her claim for no-fault benefits was denied by Michigan Mutual on the basis that her injuries did not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. The trial court denied both motions for summary disposition, finding that genuine issues of material act existed.   

On appeal, the Court of Appeals entered summary disposition in favor of Michigan Mutual because plaintiff could not succeed on her claim as a matter of law. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that her injury was a foreseeable risk of driving. In so doing, the court relied upon the recent decision in Kennedy v Auto Club of Michigan, 215 Mich App 264 (1966) [Item No. 1836], in which the plaintiff was struck by a projectile diagnosed as a possible gun shot wound. In that case, the Court of Appeals held that "plaintiff's injury was the result of an intentional, reckless or negligent act where an unknown assailant either shot or threw an object through the rear window of the automobile in which plaintiff was traveling. Injuries resulting from this kind of conduct are not within the ordinary risks of driving a motor vehicle."  

The court acknowledged previous opinions holding that personal injury coverage under the no-fault act applied when an assailant targeted the vehicle rather than its occupants. However, that analysis had been rejected in Kennedy, supra, and the court therefore rejected plaintiffs argument herein that her injury arose out of the operation of the school bus. Because her injury was the result of an intentional, reckless or negligent act of an unknown assailant, they were not covered under the no-fault act. Summary disposition was therefore entered in favor of Michigan Mutual.


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