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Mollitor v Associated Truck Lines, et al; (COA-PUB, 2/4/1985; RB #811)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 72958; Published    
Judges Maher, Allen, and Robinson; Unanimous    
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 140 Mich App 431; Link to Opinion alt    

Entitlement to No-Fault PIP Benefits: Bodily Injury Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Aggravation of Preexisting Conditions [§3105(1)]

Not Applicable    

In this unanimous Opinion by Judge Allen, the Court of Appeals, relying upon the previous decision in Wheeler v Tucker Freight Lines (Item No. 643), held that in order to recover no-fault work loss benefits, plaintiff truck driver was required to show that his bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome was the result of an "accidental bodily injury" which was attributable to a "single, specific accident" No-fault benefits would not be recoverable where the plaintiff’s condition resulted from a series of events, such as a gradually deteriorating physical condition attributable to many years of employment as a truck driver. The trial court submitted the question to the jury pursuant to an instruction which required a finding that the injury was attributable to a single, specific accident. The jury found against the plaintiff.

In affirming the trial court's decision to submit the question to the jury along with the instruction regarding the issue, the court stated, "In short, summary judgment for either defendant or plaintiff would have been improper in the instant case since a question of fact was presented as to whether plaintiff’s disability was the result of what occurred on October 17,1980 when plaintiff attempted to open the door of his semi-trailer or it was due to years of repetitive use of plaintiff s hands and wrists while loading, unloading and driving his truck. That question was properly presented to the jury which, based on the testimony presented, decided in favor of defendant"

The court also pointed out that the Wheeler decision does not hold that a condition precipitated by an accidental injury is automatically outside the scope of the no-fault statute because it results in part from a preexisting condition. The court stated, "even under Wheeler, an injured party may recover if he can demonstrate that the accident aggravated a preexisting condition. This court so held in McKim v Home Ins Co(ItemNo.734)."

Finally, the court noted that the Supreme Court denied application for leave to appeal in Wheeler, and thus the court hesitated "to take a contrary position in the absence of some indication of disapproval by the Supreme Court."


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