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Sherman v Michigan Mutual; (COA-PUB, 4/6/1983; RB #640)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 63597; Published  
Judges T. M. Burns, Allen, and Cynar, Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 124 Mich App 700; 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 Occupying [§3106(1)(c)]  
Causal Connection Requirement [§3106]

Not Applicable    

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion the Court of Appeals ruled that plaintiff, who was injured while unloading a trailer, was entitled to no-fault benefits under §3106 and §3107 of the Act. The plaintiff in this case injured his ankle while he and a companion were unloading a trailer that had backed into a loading dock bay. As the plaintiff began to lift the object that was being loaded, a defective dock plate "snapped out" and hit plaintiff’s leg, pinching it against a heavy roll of copper.

In reversing a summary judgment in favor of defendant, the Court held that plaintiff’s injury satisfied §3106(c) in that plaintiff was "occupying" the trailer by virtue of the fact that "plaintiff had one foot on the loading dock and one foot on the trailer." Thus, the parked vehicle provisions of the Act apply.

The Court then went on to see if plaintiff satisfied the "causal connection" requirement of §3105. In ruling that plaintiff’s injuries satisfied this requirement, the Court stated, "It is foreseeably identifiable that a person could be injured in the positioning of the dock plate while normally using the vehicle.
Unloading or loading is not possible without using this dock plate. Here, plaintiff was injured in the loading and unloading process itself. The injury was a direct result of this activity. The truck was not merely the site of the injury. Unloading it is a normal part of the activities surrounding its use."

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