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Ford Motor Company v Insurance Company of North America; (USD-PUB, 7/23/1980; RB #466)


U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; Published  
Judge Cohn; Reported Opinion  
Official Federal Reporter Citation: 494 F. Supp. 846; Link to Opinion alt   

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]  
Nature and Scope of PPI Benefits (Property Damage and Loss of Use) [§3121(1)]

Not Applicable   

This reported Opinion dealt with a claim for property protection insurance benefits arising out of the unloading of the contents of a tank truck which were erroneously pumped into a wrong tank causing an explosion which damaged surrounding property. The material was put into the wrong tank because an employee of plaintiff misdirected the truck driver. Judge Cohn ruled that there was an insufficient causal relationship under §3121(1) between the use of the tank truck as a motor vehicle and the property damage suffered by plaintiff, Ford, to warrant payment of property protection insurance benefits. Judge Cohn found that the explosion and subsequent property damage was not reasonably identifiable with the use of the tank truck as a motor vehicle; rather, the Court found that it was a fortuitous occurrence, caused by the intervening independent act of the Ford employee. In so holding, Judge Cohn applied the "causal connection" case law which has developed under §3105(1) regarding payment of PIP benefits.

Judge Cohn also held that the definition of "property damage" in an automobile liability policy which was issued by defendant prior to the effective date of the no-fault law, did not have any relevance to an insurer's obligation under the No-Fault Act In addition, the Court ruled that certain "policy form filings" by the defendant insurance company with the Michigan Insurance Bureau did not become a part of a contract of insurance with the insured where the insured was never delivered the form nor where the form was attached to the policy of insurance. Finally, the Court held that to the extent the policy definition contained in the endorsement form filed with the state might enlarge the insurer's liability to the insured, it was a matter solely between the insurer and the insured and did not affect the insurer's obligation to a third party.

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