Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 148914 and 149038; Unpublished
Judges Hood, Danhof, and Stempien; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [§3101(1)]
Definition of Owner [§3101(2)(h)]
General Rule of Priority [§3114(1)]
Exception for Employer Provided Vehicles [§3114(3)]
Motor Vehicle Code (Financial Responsibility Act) (MCL 257.501, et seq.)
This unanimous per curiam unpublished Opinion involved a dispute between no-fault insurers regarding primary liability to a truck driver, Ralph Scott, who was injured when his semi-truck overturned in Pennsylvania. The semi-tractor was owned by Scott, registered in Michigan, and leased by Scott to Maersk under a lease wherein Maersk provided liability, property damage and PIP coverage through INA. Scott agreed to buy "bobtail" coverage covering the tractor when it was not in business use. The bobtail policy was issued by Integral. The accident occurred while Scott was hauling a trailer attached to the tractor that was loaded with cargo for Maersk. Integral argued that the INA policy applied because Integral's policy excluded coverage when Scott was hauling cargo for a company to whom the tractor was leased.
The Court of Appeals held that the exclusions contained in the Integral policy were not void and therefore INA has responsibility for payment of PIP benefits because the Integral policy did not provide coverage when Scott was hauling cargo on Maersk's behalf. The court further held that Maersk and Scott were owners of the tractor under §3101(2)(g) of the no-fault statute because Maersk leased the vehicle for 90 days and Scott held legal title to the tractor. Therefore, as owners of the motor vehicle, Scott and Maersk were required to maintain security for payment of no-fault benefits under §3101(1). The court noted that MCLA 257.520(j) provides that the "requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the policies of one or more insurers which policies together meet such requirements." Thus, taken together, the policy issued by INA and the bobtail policy issued by Integral provide continuous insurance coverage for the tractor as required by the motor vehicle financial responsibility laws. However, even though the Integral policy was applicable, its exclusions were not void, and thus, INA has priority liability.