Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 137352; Unpublished
Judges Hood, Sawyer, and Jansen; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Private Contract (Meaning and Intent)
In this per curiam unpublished Opinion, the Court of Appeals determined that a motorcycle was an "automobile" for purposes of an exclusion contained in an umbrella policy from which the injured person sought to obtain residual liability coverage.
Maskell was injured when defendant Dundas lost control of the motorcycle on which both were riding. Residual liability coverage under the motorcycle insurance policy had been exhausted and Maskell sought additional damages pursuant to an assignment of insurance proceeds that might be available under Dundas' father's "executive/professional umbrella policy." That policy contained an exclusion for "residents of the named insured's household... as respects the ownership, maintenance or use of automobiles while away from the premises owned by, rented or controlled by the named insured or the ways immediately adjoining."
Maskell claimed that the exclusion did not apply because the vehicle involved was a "motorcycle" and not an "automobile." The umbrella policy defined an automobile as a "land motor vehicle... designed for travel on public roads." In upholding the trial court decision in favor of the insurance company, the court held that a motorcycle clearly is a "land motor vehicle designed for travel on public roads" and thus, under the clear and unambiguous terms of the policy, it is included in the definition of automobile for purposes of the exclusion. The court relied on the Supreme Court decision in Bianchi v Auto Club of Michigan, 437 Mich 65 (1991) (Item No. 1435).