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Gajewski v Auto Owners; (COA-PUB, 12/16/1981; RB #484)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 2220; Published  
Judges Kaufman, Gillis, and Cynar; Per Curiam    
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 112 Mich App 59; Link to Opinion alt   

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

Not Applicable    

In this 2-1 per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals denied no-fault benefits pursuant to §3105(1) to a plaintiff who was seriously injured when an explosive device which had been wired to his automobile ignition blew up when plaintiff attempted to start his car. Citing the "causal connection" rule, the Court found an insufficient causal relationship between plaintiff’s use of the vehicle and his injuries. In denying benefits, the Court stated, “The fact that the explosive device was set in plaintiff’s vehicle rather than some other location was a mere fortuity. Even though plaintiff’s act of turning the ignition key detonated the explosion, the explosive device, rather than the automobile, was the true instrumentality of the injury. The injury was clearly not foreseeably identifiable with the normal use, maintenance and ownership of the vehicle."

Judge Cynar dissented. He stated that in this case, the vehicle was more than merely the site of the injury. There was a direct causal relationship between the use of the vehicle and plaintiff’s injuries inasmuch as turning the ignition key must be identified with the normal manner in starting a vehicle. Thus, Judge Cynar would affirm the trial court and grant no-fault benefits to plaintiff.

[Author's Comment: This Opinion appears to be somewhat inconsistent with the opinion of the Court of Appeals in Mann v DAIIE, item 463, and, quite possibly, other "causal connection" case law under §3105(1).]

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