Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 130290; and Docket No. 130290; Unpublished
Judges Weaver, Wahls and Taylor; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA – 29 USC Section 1001, et seq.)
No-Fault Insurer Claims for Reimbursement
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that on the basis of Auto Club Insurance Association v Frederick & Herrud, Inc. (on remand) (Item No. 1509), the Federal ERISA statute preempts state regulation of uninsured self-funded employee benefit plans. That being the case, a coordinated no-fault insurer is not automatically secondary to a self-funded ERISA plan. However, the court was unable to rule as a matter of law that the no-fault insurer had primary liability in this case because a question of fact existed with regard to a resignation of employment document signed by the injured employee. Therefore, given the different interpretations possible regarding the resignation document, the court concluded there was a disputed issue of fact making summary disposition inappropriate and the case was accordingly remanded for further proceedings.
It should also be pointed out that in an earlier opinion about one month prior to this case (see Docket No. 130290), the Court of Appeals granted summary disposition in favor of the defendant on the basis that the plaintiff no-fault insurer's suit for reimbursement was not filed in conformity with the one year statute of limitations set forth in §3145(1) of the no-fault act. However, because the Supreme Court subsequently decided in Auto Club Insurance Association v New York Life, (Item No. 1570) that the one year statute of limitations does not apply to a subrogation action brought by a no-fault insurer against a health insurer, the earlier decision of the Court of Appeals in Docket No. 130290 was reversed in this case and the court proceeded to render this decision.