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Auto-Owners Insurance Company v Rucker; (COA-PUB, 1/7/1991; RB #1440)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 122929; Published  
Judges Marilyn Kelly, Holbrook, Jr., and Sullivan; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  188 Mich App 125; Link to Opinion alt   

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)] 
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Motor Vehicle Involvement [§3105(1)]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous per curam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed entry of a declaratory judgment in favor of the insurance company in a case where claimant was shot and killed in a "drive by" shooting from a moving vehicle. 

The claimant's daughter was waiting in front of a friend's house for a ride home when the front seat passenger of a passing car leaned out of the open window and fired at her with a shotgun.  

The only issue on appeal was whether or not the young girl's death "arose out of the use of the motor vehicle." The claimant argued that the use of the automobile was an "integral part of the drive-by shooting and that, therefore, coverage existed under Auto Owners' policy."  

In relying upon the case of Thornton v Allstate Insurance, 425 Mich 643 (1986), the Court of Appeals held that there must be a causal connection between the use of the vehicle and the injury that results. The connection must be more than incidental or fortuitous. In this case, the death arose from the firing of a shotgun. Although the vehicle made it easier for the criminals to approach the scene and to escape, it was nonetheless incidental to the injury. Therefore, the trial court did not err in granting summary disposition in favor of the insurance company.

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