Genesee County Circuit Court; Docket No. 76-42009-NI; Unpublished
Judge Philip C. Elliott
Official Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Legislative Purpose and Intent
In an Opinion from the bench which was later explained in a letter to this writer, Judge Elliott made a ruling in a case involving rather bizarre facts which appears to be a case of first impression. Judge Elliott concluded that under §3135 of the no-fault act a police officer, who negligently gave traffic control directions at the scene of an accident which resulted in a truck knocking down a telephone pole upon another policeman, could claim the tort immunity provisions of the no-fault statute when sued by the injured policeman, inasmuch as the accident arose out of "the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle" which was insured under the no-fault statute. Judge Elliott so ruled even though the negligent police officer did not actually, physically operate the vehicle when it caused injury to the plaintiff. Judge Elliott concluded that the word "use" in §3135(2) was broad enough to cover the negligent police officer's directions to the vehicle involved in the accident.
In addition, Judge Elliott ruled that, until the question is resolved in the appellate courts to the contrary, claims for loss of consortium should be permitted to go to the jury. Judge Elliott reasoned that if his view is incorrect, the consortium claimant's verdict can always be set aside on appeal as opposed to the necessity of calling a retrial if consortium claims are improperly prevented from going to jury deliberation prior to any appellate court decision to the contrary.