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Johnson v Auto-Owners Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 11/7/1984; RB #787)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 73455; Unpublished    
Judges MacKenzie, Gillis, and Fitzgerald; Unanimous; Per Curiam    
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt    

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Exclusion for Vehicles Considered Parked [§3106(1)]  
Exception for Loading / Unloading [§3106(1)(b)]  
Exception for Vehicle Maintenance [§3106]  
Causal Connection Requirement [§3106]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of no-fault first party benefits to a plaintiff who injured his elbow while in the process of loading a pontoon boat onto a two-wheel boat trailer that was attached to his truck. The loading operation occurred on a cement loading ramp at a marina. The ramp extended down into the water. Plaintiff backed his truck and trailer down the ramp with the trailer partially in the water. Plaintiff walked down the ramp into the water for purposes of aligning the pontoon boat and slipped on the ramp and injured his elbow. Plaintiff testified that he fell as he was stepping toward the trailer with the intention of stepping onto the trailer tongue in order to align the boat

The Court held that plaintiff’s injury did not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle pursuant to §3105(1). In addition, the Court stated that plaintiff would also have to satisfy one of the parked vehicle subsections set forth in §3106. However, because plaintiff’s injury did not bear the requisite causal connection under §3105, the Court went no further in its analysis.

In ruling that the plaintiff did not satisfy §3105, the Court relied upon the previous decisions in King v Aetna Casualty (item number 569) and Block v Citizens (item number 460). Based on the analysis in those cases, plaintiff’s injury was caused by the slippery cement boat ramp rather than the operation or use of the motor vehicle. To the extent that the previous Court of Appeals decision in Krueger v Lumbermens Mutual (item number 493) would suggest a different result, the Court chose to follow the King and Block cases. The Court also noted that the injury did not arise out of "maintenance" of a motor vehicle and therefore plaintiff would not be entitled to recover benefits under the analysis employed by the Supreme Court in Miller v Auto-Owners (item number 310).

Michigan auto accident attorney Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit

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