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Apperson v Citizens Mutual Insurance Company; (COA-PUB, 12/5/1983; RB #691)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 67621; Published  
Judges MacKenzie, Wahls, and Warshawsky  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 130 Mich App 799; Link to Opinion alt    

Definition of Motor Vehicle (General) [§3101(2)(e)]  
Definition of Motor Vehicle (Race Cars) [§3101(2)(e)]  
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]

Not Applicable   

The issue in this case is whether a plaintiff who was injured by a wheel which flew off a vehicle during a "street stock" car race at the Flat Rock Speedway was entitled to receive no-fault personal insurance protection benefits. In a unanimous Opinion by Judge Warshawsky, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of benefits. The basis of denial was that the "street stock" car was not a "motor vehicle" within the definition of §3101(2)(c) of the Act because it was not a vehicle "designed for operation upon a public highway." In reaching its conclusion that the street stock car was not a motor vehicle, the Court cited affidavits which had been filed in the case attesting to the fact that important equipment is removed from a street stock vehicle such as outside lights, windshield wipers, turn signals and exhaust pipes. In addition, such vehicles are equipped with only one seat and a full roll cage. Even though these vehicles were originally designed for use upon public highways, they were modified in such a way that they lost their status as a "motor vehicle" within the meaning of that term as used in the Act.

Finally, the Court distinguished the previous opinion in DAIIE v Irvine (item number 232) on the basis that there was no indication in that opinion whether or not the automobiles involved in the "auto cross race" had been modified in any way.

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