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McKenzie v Auto Club Insurance Association; (COA-PUB, 6/27/1995; RB #1794)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 161336; Published  
Judges Connor, Wahls, and Hoekstra; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  211 Mich App 659; Link to Opinion alt   

Definition of Motor Vehicle (Trailers) [§3101(2)(e)]   
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Exception for Occupying [§3106(1)(c)]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous per curiam published Opinion, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's grant of summary disposition, holding that the use of a camper/trailer as sleeping accommodations constituted use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle under §3105 of the no-fault act, thereby requiring no-fault benefits to be paid in a case where plaintiff was asphyxiated while sleeping in his 28-foot camper/trailer which was attached to his pickup truck.  

Plaintiff was on a hunting trip, and while sleeping in his camper/trailer attached to his pickup truck, a propane furnace in the trailer malfunctioned resulting in plaintiffs non-fatal asphyxiation. Plaintiff carried no-fault automobile insurance.  

The defendant argued that the use of a camper/trailer as sleeping accommodations did not constitute the use of a motor vehicle "as a motor vehicle" as required under §3105 of the act. Defendant admitted that the camper/trailer constituted a motor vehicle as defined by §3101(2)(e) of the act. Defendant also admitted that plaintiff was occupying the vehicle, within the meaning of the exception to the parked vehicle exclusions contained in §3106(1).  

In ruling in favor of the plaintiff, the court held that when a "dual purpose vehicle" is being used for a non-locomotive purpose, coverage is not precluded solely because there was no vehicular movement at the time of the injury. Winter v Automobile Club of MI, 433 Mich 446 (1989); Bialochowsi v Cross Concrete Pumping Co, 428 Mich 219 (1987).  

The court noted that other decisions in the Court of Appeals are in accord. Koole v Michigan Mutual Insurance Co, 126 Mich App 483 (1983), involving an explosion of a gas furnace in a camper attached to a pickup truck. The use of a camper/trailer as sleeping accommodations constitutes the use of a motor vehicle "as a motor vehicle" within the meaning of the no-fault act. The court also noted that even if the furnace here had not been a permanent attachment to the vehicle, which it was, liability would have been proper.  

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