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Rawlins v Aetna Casualty; (COA-PUB, 9/5/1979; RB #230)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 78-3226; Published   
Judges Allen, T. M. Burns, and Holbrook; Unanimous   
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 92 Mich App 268; Link to Opinion alt   

One-Year Notice Rule Limitation [§3145(1)]
Tolling of Limitations for Minors [§3145(1)]

Revised Judicature Act – Tolling of Statutes of Limitations (MCL 600.5851 – 600.5856)   

In a unanimous Opinion by Judge D. E. Holbrook, the Michigan Court of Appeals, in a case of first impression, held that the general saving provisions of the revised Judicature Act apply to toll the statute of limitations in causes of action created under the Michigan no-fault statute. In so ruling, the Court held that the minority provisions of the RJA (MCLA 600.5851) extends the time required to give notice or file a claim under §3145 of the no-fault statute by minors a year of grace after the termination of their disability before requiring them to either give notice or file a claim for no-fault benefits. In this particular case, the widow of a deceased husband did not give notice of a survivors' loss claim within one year of the fatal accident as required by §3145. Although her claim for no-fault benefits was barred, the survivors' loss claims of the minor children were not barred until one year after they reached the age of majority.

In its holding, the Court ruled consistently with previous opinions of the Court of Appeals in Davis v Farmers Insurance Company (item number 113) and Dolson v Assigned Claims Faculty (item number 91) the §3145 of the no-fault statute was a limitation period rather than a notice provision. Accordingly, the widow's claim for no-fault benefits was properly denied.

The Court also ruled that the widow's cause of action for no-fault benefits was barred by §3145 even though some of the losses that she sustained and sought to recover were not all incurred within one year of the injury.

Finally, the Court ruled that §3145 does not constitute a violation of equal protection of the law.

[Author's Comment: The holding regarding the minority provisions of the RJA is consistent with the holding in Pollard v Michigan Mutual, item number 214.)


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