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Michigan Millers Mutual v Farm Bureau; (COA-UNP, 12/16/1986; RB #997)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 93942; Unpublished  
Judges Maher, Walsh, and Stell; Unanimous; Opinion by Judge Walsh   
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt    

General Rule of Priority [§3114(1)]  
Exception for Motorcycle Injuries [§3114(5)]

Off-Road Recreational Vehicles and All Terrain Vehicles (ORVs and ATVs)    

In this unanimous Opinion by Judge Walsh, the Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court declaratory judgment which held that the priority provisions of §3114(5) require the insurer of a motor vehicle to provide coverage in a case involving an accident between a motor vehicle and an off-road vehicle (ORV).

Ricky Thompson was injured when his trail bike was involved in an intersection collision with a Dodge pickup truck. The pickup truck was insured by Farm Bureau, and Ricky Thompson was domiciled in the same household as his parents who were the named insured under an automobile no-fault insurance policy issued by Michigan Millers.

In this case, there was no dispute that Ricky Thompson's trail bike was a "motorcycle" as defined in the No-Fault Act, but that it also met the definition of an off-road recreational vehicle as contained in MCLA 257.1601; MSA 9.3301(1). The Off-Road Vehicle Act contains an exemption which purports to exempt an ORV from the provisions of the No-Fault Act. The No-Fault Act, in §3114(5) provides a system of priorities which would require the insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle to provide personal protection insurance benefits in an accident involving a motor vehicle and a motorcycle. Defendant Farm Bureau, as insurer of the pickup truck, argued that §3 of the ORV Act precluded application of the priority provisions of §3114(5) of the No-Fault Act. In attempting to construe the apparently conflicting provisions of the No-Fault Act and the ORV Act, the Court of Appeals held that the priority provisions of §3114(5) control, and the insurer of the motor vehicle provides coverage in this case. In enacting the exemption contained in §3 of the ORV Act, the Legislature did not say that a person's status as operator of an ORV/motorcycle cannot be considered in determining priority of payment of no-fault benefits. Therefore, the insurer of the motor vehicle must provide the benefits in this case.

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