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Crocker v Meridian Mutual Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 4/8/1992; RB #1539)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 127004; Unpublished  
Judges Griffin, Holbrook, and Reilly; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   


STATUTORY INDEXING:  
Not Applicable

TOPICAL INDEXING: 
Equitable Estoppel  
Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Underinsured Motorist Coverage in General  
Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Exclusions from Underinsured Motorist Benefits   


CASE SUMMARY:  
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff who settled his auto tort claim against defendant tortfeasor for the defendant's insurance policy limits, was precluded from maintaining a claim against his own insurance company for underinsured motorist coverage where the plaintiff’s policy contained a provision that unambiguously stated that underinsured motorist coverage is not payable where the insured person settles his tort claim "without written consent of the company."  

In this case, plaintiff admitted that he settled his tort claim without written consent of his insurer, but argued that his insurer was estopped from enforcing the clause because plaintiff’s counsel notified the insurer of the filing of the lawsuit and the fact that settlement negotiations were underway and that they would likely result in a settlement for policy limits. Nevertheless, the court held that the "silence or inaction" of the underinsured motorist insurer did not create an estoppel. The court noted "plaintiff’s former attorney did not seek to be informed regarding the contents of Meridian's policy. Moreover, plaintiff offers no evidence nor does he contend that any promises were made concerning enforcement of the written consent provision. Plaintiff’s former attorney conceded as much in his deposition. It is also undisputed that defendant's agents never gave plaintiff consent in any form to settle the case A claim of estoppel involves reliance. Here, plaintiff’s former attorney admitted that he would have settled the case against Keenan for policy limits even if he had known of the written consent provision. The absence of reliance is clear, and defendant was properly awarded summary disposition."  


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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