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Rusinek v Schultz et al; (COA-PUB, 7/1/1980; RB #315)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 78-3137; Published  
Judges Cynar, MacKenzie, and Corkin; (with J. Corkin Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part)  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 98 Mich App 380; Link to Opinion alt   

Serious Impairment of Body Function Definition (Pre-Cassidy Era – 1973-1982) [§3135(1)]  
Causation Issues [§3135]  
Loss of Consortium Claims [§3135]

Not Applicable   

In an Opinion by Judge MacKenzie, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court on two major issues. First, the Court rejected the previous opinion of another panel of the Court of Appeals in Warner v Brigham (item number 195) and held mat the spouse of a party physically injured in an automobile accident may not recover for loss of consortium under the No-Fault Act. The majority (Judge Cynar dissenting) agreed with the reasoning of Judge Bashara in his dissenting opinion in Warner.

Second, the Court held that in order for a plaintiff to recover damages for future noneconomic loss, the plaintiff must continue to sustain a serious impairment of body function. In so holding, the Court stated, "Therefore, we believe that the requirement that the plaintiff show a serious impairment of body function not only presents a threshold requirement to recover in tort, but also a limitation precluding recovery of future damages where plaintiff no longer suffers from a serious impairment of body function."

Judge Cynar dissented on the loss of consortium issue. He agreed with the majority opinion in Warner v Brigham. He concurred in all other respects.

[Author's Comment: The loss of consortium issue was tangentially addressed in the decision of Gallagher v Parshall (item number 314 discussed above. In that Opinion, no intimation was made that loss of consortium was not recoverable under no-fault; therefore, if that panel agreed with the Rusinek analysis, it would seem that the loss of consortium issue would have been disposed of in that fashion. This Opinion reverses the decision summarized in item number 102.]

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