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Faison v Hartford Ins Co; (COA-UNP, 6/3/2014; RB #3335)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #313555; Unpublished  
Judges Servitto, Fort Hood, and Beckering; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt
The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered that this 6/3/2014 opinion Vacated the prior 4/10/2014 unpublished opinion originally issued in the case; Link to Opinion alt 


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [§3101(1)]
Obligation of Non-Resident Owner/Registrant to Insure a Vehicle [§3102(1)]
Personal Protection Insurance (PIP) Benefits Entitlement [§3105]
Obligations of Admitted Insurers to Pay PIP Benefits on Behalf of Nonresidents Injured in Michigan [§3163(1)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Not Applicable 


CASE SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion involving an out-of-state driver who was seeking benefits for injuries he suffered while operating his vehicle in Michigan, the Court of Appeals held the driver was not entitled to benefits because, in contravention of MCL 500.3102(1), he had driven his vehicle in Michigan for more than 30 days prior to the accident without obtaining a Michigan no-fault insurance policy. In so ruling, the court noted that MCL 500.3163(1) allows non-residents to recover PIP benefits from out-of-state insurers, but said this did not excuse the driver’s non-compliance with the 30-day mandate in §3102(1).

Beginning in September 2010, plaintiff, who was from Maryland, had been spending a significant amount of time in Michigan. On Dec. 22, 2010, he was driving his vehicle in Michigan and was involved in an accident. Defendant, plaintiff’s no-fault insurer, refused to pay benefits. Defendant asserted that plaintiff: 1) failed to obtain Michigan no-fault insurance under §3102(1) in light of his presence in the state for more than 30 days before the accident, and 2) plaintiff had been driving a vehicle in Michigan for more than 30 days. Plaintiff filed this action seeking coverage, arguing a factual dispute existed about the amount of time he had spent in Michigan. However, plaintiff did not submit any documentary evidence to support his claim. The trial court ruled that factual issues existed and denied defendant’s motion for summary disposition.

In reversing the trial court and finding that defendant was not obligated to pay benefits, the Court of Appeals said plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence to dispute that 1) he had spent more than 30 days in Michigan during 2010 and 2) he was obligated under §3102(1) to obtain a Michigan no-fault insurance policy.

According to the Court of Appeals, plaintiff’s “extensive admissions” to defendant that he had stayed in Michigan for more than a month in 2010 made him ineligible for benefits. The court noted that plaintiff had called defendant several times and indicated that he was either in, or recently had been in, Michigan, and said that he was spending a significant amount of time in the state. The court also noted that plaintiff had instructed defendant to change his billing address to Michigan. The court explained:

“[A] nonresident who is present in Michigan for more than 30 days in a calendar year must obtain Michigan insurance to remain eligible for benefits under the Michigan no-fault insurance system. … Plaintiff’s ‘actual historical conduct’ throughout 2010 demonstrates that there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he operated a vehicle in Michigan for more than 30 days during the year.”

The Court of Appeals further said that plaintiff’s state of legal residency was not the main inquiry for determining eligibility for PIP benefits. The court said:

“[R]ather, it was whether plaintiff operated a vehicle for an aggregate of 30 days in Michigan during the 2010 calendar year. … On that inquiry, plaintiff’s conclusory assertions that he spent less than 30 days in Michigan in 2010 are insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact.”

Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary disposition.


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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