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Peck v Auto-Owners; (COA-PUB, 1/6/1982; RB #491)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 56082; Published  
Judges Kavanagh, Allen, and MacKenzie; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 112 Mich App 329; Link to Opinion alt    

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous, per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that a motorcyclist who was injured in an accident while fleeing from a police cruiser could not recover no-fault benefits under his own no-fault policy where the only motor vehicle involved was the pursuing patrol car. The plaintiff was fleeing from police on his motorcycle when he smashed into the rear brick wall of a residence. In order to recover no-fault benefits in this case, the plaintiff must show that there was sufficient causal connection between the accident and the police patrol car. In denying benefits the Court stated, "We hold that the accident arose, not from the police use of a vehicle, but from the plaintiff’s act of fleeing from the police. The resultant accident would have been equally likely had the police been pursuing plaintiff on a motorcycle, in a helicopter, or on horseback. The involvement of the cruiser was merely fortuitous."

The Court also stated that the accident in this case was not foreseeably identifiable with the normal use of a vehicle." In this regard, the Court made an important observation regarding non-contact motorcycle accidents. The Court stated, "We distinguish this factual situation from one in which an injured driver swerves to avoid a collision with another vehicle. There the cause of the accident is the desire to avoid an imminent collision with another vehicle. The swerving is a foreseeable circumstance arising from the operation of a motor vehicle. Flight to avoid police, however, is not such a foreseeable possibility."

The Court also commented regarding the appropriate procedure concerning motions for summary judgment. The Court stated that motions for summary judgment brought under GCR 117.2(3) alleging no genuine issue of material fact must be supported by more than the affidavit of counsel.

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