United States District Court, Western District of Michigan, Southern Division; Docket No. l:90-CV-252;
Judge Robert Holmes Bell; Unpublished
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
General Rule of Priority [§3114(1)]
Exception for Employer Provided Vehicles [§3114(3)]
Exception for Occupants [§3114(4)]
Exception to General Priority for Non-Occupants [§3115(1)]
In this opinion by Judge Robert Holmes Bell, the court denied a motion for summary disposition brought by plaintiff’s no-fault insurer, which claimed that plaintiff was not an "occupant" in his employer's vehicle when he was struck by another motor vehicle. Plaintiff was driving a truck for his employer during a snow storm. Another vehicle struck plaintiff’s vehicle
Plaintiff parked his vehicle on the side of an exit ramp and walked across 1-94 to exchange information with the other driver. While speaking to the other driver, a third vehicle lost control and struck the plaintiff.
The provisions of §3114 and §3115 provide that an insurer of an employer's vehicle is responsible for payment of no-fault benefits if the employee is injured "while an occupant of" the employer's vehicle. The insurance company for the employer's vehicle, Granite State, contended that because plaintiff had left his employer's vehicle and was standing on the opposite side of the freeway when he was injured, he was not an "occupant" within the meaning of the statute.
The court noted that if the plaintiff is not found to be covered by Granite State, he will have no recovery for his medical expenses or work loss. The court also referred to the decision of Rohlman v Hawkeye Security Insurance Company, 190 Mich App 540 (1991), leave to appeal granted, 440 Mich 873 (1992), which held that what was at issue in such cases was construction of the term "occupying" under the insurance policy rather than construction of the term "occupant" under the no-fault act. In Rohlman, supra, the Court of Appeals held that the term "occupying" as contained in the insurance policy, should be construed to provide coverage under similar facts.
In the present case, the insurance policy was not a part of the record, nor had the parties argued the issue raised by Rohlman, supra. Therefore, the court held that it could not conclude as a matter of law that plaintiff’s can prove no set of facts in support of their claim which would entitle them to relief.