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Vinkle v Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 9/20/1990; RB #1420)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 113706; Unpublished  
Judges Marilyn Kelly, Sawyer, and Weaver; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt  

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [§3101(1)]  
Definition of Motor Vehicle (Trailers) [§3101(2)(e)]

Legislative Purpose and Intent  

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals denied no-fault benefits to plaintiff who sustained an injury while loading chimney blocks onto a two-wheeled trailer in which plaintiff was standing. The court denied benefits on the basis that the two-wheeled trailer was not a "motor vehicle" within the definition of §3101(2)(e), which defines a motor vehicle as "a vehicle, including a trailer, operated or designed for operation upon a public highway by power other than muscular power which has more than two wheels."  

The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that his two-wheeled trailer satisfies this definition because the phrase "a vehicle including a trailer" should be interpreted to mean any vehicle and trailer that taken together, has more than two wheels. The court rejected this argument on the basis that all case law cited by plaintiff deals with semi-trailers that have more than two wheels. The court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that he was entitled to no-fault benefits because the insurance agent who sold him the policy allegedly "made statements which reasonably caused plaintiff to believe PIP benefits would apply to this trailer." In rejecting this as a basis for a cause of action, the court stated, "Plaintiff cites no authority that would make this allegation grounds for recovery. Argument must be supported by citation to appropriate authority of policy. A party may not merely announce his position and leave it to this court to discover and rationalize the basis for his claims."  

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