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Hartman v Associated Trucklines; (COA-UNP, 11/25/1986; RB #984)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 89927; Unpublished  
Judges Gribbs, Walsh, and Beasley; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt    

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Aggravation of Preexisting Conditions [§3105(1)]  
Requirement That Benefits Were Unreasonably Delayed or Denied [§3148(1)]

Not Applicable    

In this unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of summary judgment in the trial court, holding that plaintiff was entitled to no-fault benefits and ruling favorably upon plaintiff’s request for attorneys fees.

Plaintiff had suffered a prior back injury in September 1980, and then on December 1, 1981 was injured again when his truck hit an upraised portion of pavement. Following December 1,1981, plaintiff was unable to return to work. In support of his motion for summary judgment, plaintiff filed an affidavit from his doctor in which it was stated that plaintiff’s injuries were caused "in part” by the December 1, 1981 incident. The self-insured defendant did not file a counter-affidavit but relied upon a letter written by plaintiff to a different insurance company in support of its contention that there was a material issue of fact on the question as to whether plaintiff’s injury “arises out of” the use of a motor vehicle within the meaning of §3105(1). In ruling that plaintiff’s claim satisfied the requirement that the injury arose out of the use of a motor vehicle, the Court noted that under the No-Fault Act, something "less than proximate cause" is required to establish the requisite causal connection between the injuries and use of a motor vehicle. However, the connection must be "more than incidental, fortuitous or but for." The Court of Appeals held that the letter offered in opposition to the affidavit of plaintiff’s doctor was in fact consistent with plaintiff’s claim that the disability arose out of both the 1980 and 1981 traumas.

The Court refused to disturb on appeal the trial court's finding of unreasonable refusal or delay in paying a no-fault claim. The Court held that such decisions will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are clearly erroneous.

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