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Turner v Farmers Insurance Exchange; (COA-UNP, 10/6/1995; RB #1821)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 167627; Unpublished  
Judges Neff, Hoekstra, and Schnelz; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Exception for Vehicle Maintenance [§3106]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of no-fault PIP benefits to plaintiff who was injured when gasoline fumes were ignited by a nearby kerosene heater while plaintiff was attempting to pour gasoline into his disabled vehicle which was situated in a garage, awaiting repairs. During the repair process, the plaintiffs vehicle ran out of gas and, while filling the tank with gas from a gas can, the fumes were ignited by a nearby kerosene heater which was situated in the garage to provide heat during the winter. The trial court and the Court of Appeals agreed that this injury did not arise out of the "maintenance of the vehicle" within the meaning of §3105(1) of the act, and relied upon the earlier Court of Appeals decision in Auto Owners Insurance Company v Citizens Insurance Company [Item No. 1481] to support that conclusion. The court stated:

"We find that here plaintiffs injuries are not causally related to the maintenance of a motor vehicle within the meaning of the no-fault statute. Plaintiffs injuries occurred as a result of gasoline fumes being ignited by a kerosene heater that was used to heat the garage in which plaintiff was working. The kerosene heater, like the water heater in Auto Owners, was not directly related to or connected with the maintenance of the motor vehicle. Plaintiffs injuries could just as easily have resulted from working on a lawn mower, a tractor, or any other non-vehicular gas powered property. There being no direct relationship between the kerosene heater and the maintenance of plaintiff s motor vehicle, there could be no causal connection sufficient to trigger benefits under the no-fault act. We conclude that a kerosene heater is not the kind of instrumentality that bears a close and direct connection to the maintenance of motor vehicles. Heat is an incidental necessity for almost any indoor activity performed during winter in Michigan, and therefore, bears no direct relationship to vehicle maintenance."  

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