Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 71259; Published
Judges Cynar, Kelly, and Evans; Unanimous
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 139 Mich App 600; Link to Opinion
This unanimous Opinion by Judge Cynar primarily deals with causes of action under the Uniform Trade Practices Act (UTPA), MCLA 500.2006, et seq. The court made several holdings with regard to causes of action under this statute. First, the court held that a private party may not maintain an action in tort for violation of MCLA 500.2026. In so holding, the court relied upon the federal district court opinion in Barker v Underwriters, 564 F Supp 352 (ED Mich, 1983). The court noted that the UTPA was an amendment to the Insurance Code. MCLA 500.230 of that Code specifically states that unless otherwise provided, every penalty set forth in the Code is to be enforced by a local prosecuting attorney or the attorney general. Therefore, no cause of action in tort may be brought by a private party for violating UTPA.
Second, the court agreed with the previous decision in Fletcher v Aetna, 80 Mich App 439 (1978) and other cases that a private party is entitled to maintain an action for the interest penalty under UTPA. However, the plaintiff in the case at bar was not pursuing the interest penalty but rather was suing in tort.
Third, the court held that a private party may not maintain a cause of action under§2026 of UTPA because those provisions do not apply to "isolated incidents. That section is designed to give the insurance commissioner authority over certain continuing practices of insurance companies. Therefore, these provisions would not give relief to a private individual "since an insurance client's dealings with an insurance company are of necessity an isolated incident"
Fourth, the court held that pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Kewin v Massachusetts Mutual (Item No. 338), the plaintiff was not entitled to recover for "hardship, anxiety, outrage and inconvenience" as a result of the defendant's breach of its contractual obligation.