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Collins v Allstate Insurance Company; (USD-UNP, 5/17/1976; RB #119)

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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division; Docket No. 5-71620; Unpublished   
Judge John Feikens; Written Opinion   
Official Federal Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   


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

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Private Contract (Meaning and Intent)   


CASE SUMMARY:
In the only known United States Federal District Court decision dealing with the Michigan no-fault statute, Federal Judge Feikens, in a written opinion, held that a deceased's survivors were not entitled to survivors' benefits where the decedent died as a result of acute alcohol intoxication after being arrested by police when his car ran off the road. The decedent was not injured in the accident and his death occurred in a jail cell after he refused an offer of hospitalization for his intoxication. Even though it could be argued that the decedent used his automobile as a place to become intoxicated, Judge Feikens ruled that his death did not arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle pursuant to §3105 of the no-fault act.

In so holding, Judge Feikens ruled that the use of the automobile "must be such as to arise out of the inherent nature of the automobile." In this case, the decedent's use of the vehicle was "merely fortuitous" and thus there was "no-substantial nexus between decedent's death and the use of his automobile."

The Court also reviewed and applied a six-part test utilized by the Louisiana Supreme Court in determining whether injury or death arose out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. The essence of the Louisiana test was a "reasonable incident or consequences" analysis. The relationship here between decedent's vehicle and his intoxication and death was merely coincidental.

The Court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that plaintiff had a compensable claim under the particular language of his insurance policy. That language provided coverage for "bodily injury [sustained] in an accident involving a motor vehicle." The Court felt that the plaintiff’s policy gave no broader coverage than that given by the no-fault statute and accordingly did not further plaintiff’s claim for benefits.


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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