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Nault v Heisemar and Auto-Owners; (JDC-UNP, 10/30/1979; RB #260)


94th District Court; Docket No. CI-G-6-79; Unpublished    
Judge Dean J. Shipman; Written Opinion  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt    

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [§3101(1)]  
Security Requirement Applicable for Highway Use [§3101(1)]  
Definition of Motor Vehicle (General) [§3101(2)(e)]  
Definition of Motor Vehicle (Other Motorized Devices) [§3101(2)(e)]

Not Applicable   

In a written Opinion, Judge Shipman held that when an implement of husbandry such as a farm tractor is used in nonagricultural activities on a public highway right of way as a motor vehicle, it then becomes a motor vehicle as defined in the no-fault statute (§3101). As such, it is subject to the registration requirements of the no-fault act as well as subject to the act's provisions. Inasmuch as the tractor is defined as a "motor vehicle" it is excluded from property protection benefits when it is damaged in an accident with a moving automobile. Furthermore, if the owner of such a tractor does not purchase the necessary no-fault insurance, the motor vehicle operator has a right to sue the operator of the tractor for common law negligence.

In this particular case, the farm tractor was being used as an automobile wrecker or towing device. The tractor was attempting to extricate another automobile from a ditch. It was being operated at least partially on the driving surface of a public highway and was completely within the right of way. It was not being used for agricultural purposes. In characterizing this tractor as a "motor vehicle" and thus subject to the no-fault act, Judge Shipman distinguished this situation from the case of Shoemaker v National Ben Franklin (item number 43). In that case, the farm tractor involved in the accident was pulling a manure spreader and was engaged solely in agricultural purposes. As such, the no-fault act was held to be inapplicable.

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