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State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v Persico; (COA-UNP, 5/28/1992; RB #1548)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 128762; Unpublished  
Judges Cavanagh, Gribbs, and Drain; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   

Liability Exclusions Prohibiting Stacking of Coverages [§3131]

Equitable Estoppel 
Private Contract (Meaning and Intent)   

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court determination that residual liability insurance coverage was only available through the insurance policy on the vehicle involved in an accident and insured by State Farm, and did not allow stacking of coverages provided by State Farm on two other vehicles in the household.  

Vivian Dorsey was the driver of a 1986 Pontiac 6000 involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in an injury to Persico and the death of a passenger. State Farm provided insurance coverage to Vivian Dorsey's parents on three separate vehicles owned by Vivian Dorsey's parents with each vehicle, including the 1986 Pontiac, insured by State Farm under a separate but identical policy. Vivian Dorsey was a named driver on the policy covering her parents' Buick.  

State Farm admitted that coverage was available for the loss under the Pontiac policy. However, it denied that there was coverage available under the other two insurance policies on the Chevrolet and Buick. Each of the three policies provided for coverage for bodily injury "caused by accident resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of your car. 'Your car' is defined as 'the car or vehicle described on the declarations page." The court noted that it was obvious that the injuries were not caused by either the Chevrolet or the Buick.  

The Court of Appeals also rejected the argument that coverage should be supplied under the "temporary substitute, newly acquired car, or non-owned car" provisions of the liability portion of the policy. The court held that the both the temporary substitute and non-owned car provisions include within their definitions a car not owned by the insured. Further, a newly acquired car must replace the car named in the policy. Here, the Pontiac was owned by the Dorseys and did not replace the Chevrolet or the Buick. In light of the clear and unambiguous language of the policy, the court upheld the trial court ruling that coverage was not available under anything other than the policy on the Pontiac.  

The court also rejected a claim that the insurance agent had represented that the Buick policy would cover Vivian when she was driving a different car. The alleged representations did not indicate that Vivian would be covered under more than one policy.  

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

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