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Badger State Mutual v Auto-Owners; (COA-PUB, 8/16/1983; RB #705)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 63268; Published  
Judges Danhof, Brennan, and Baguley; Unanimous; Opinion by Judge Brennan  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 128 Mich App 120; Link to Opinion alt    

One-Year Notice Rule Limitation [§3145(1)]  
Applicability of Limitations Period to Claims by Insurers Against Other Insurers [§3145]

Not Applicable    

This unanimous Opinion by Judge Brennan involves a statute of limitations question in an action brought by a no-fault insurer against a workers' compensation insurer for reimbursement of certain benefits paid by the no-fault insurer to an accident victim which should have been paid by the workers' comp carrier. The plaintiff no-fault carrier did not commence the action in a timely fashion under the one year statute of limitations set forth in §3145 of the Act. Plaintiff argued that it should be permitted to maintain its action against the defendant workers' comp carrier because, under a subrogation analysis, the injured auto victim would not be precluded by the statute of limitations from maintaining a workers' comp action against the defendant. Therefore, plaintiff argued that neither should it. Such a “subrogation analysis” was utilized were not filed timely under §3145 (See Federal Kemper v Western Ins Co item number 320, Michigan Mutual v Home Mutual item number 439 and Keller v Losinski item number 233). The Court decided not to employ the "subrogation analysis" to this case. To do so would have resulted in the action not being barred. On the contrary, the Court chose to adopt the analysis of the trial court that "the subject matter of the action [is] determinative of the limitation rather than the position of the defendant as plaintiff would advocate." Thus, it would appear that the one year limitation period set forth m §3145 of the Act is applicable to any type of suit by one insurer against another insurer where the relief sought is reimbursement of no-fault benefits paid to an insured. .

The Court also rejected plaintiff's arguments that the statute of limitations should be tolled because of the holding in Matti Awdish Inc v Williams (item number 544). In the instant case, plaintiff knew full well that defendant had consistently refused to-reimburse plaintiff on previous occasions and had even suggested to plaintiff that plaintiff file a lawsuit in circuit court which plaintiff refused to do while the injured person's workers' compensation claim was pending. Plaintiff proceeded at its own risk and is thus barred by the no-fault statute of limitations for failing to take timely action in pursuing its claim for reimbursement.

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