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State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins Co v Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority, Inc; (MSC-PUB, 4/11/2014; RB # 3328)

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Michigan Supreme Court; Docket #147752; Published Order  
Justices Young, Cavanagh, Kelly, McCormack and Viviano; Justice Markman, dissenting, joined by Justice Zahra  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Order alt  


STATUTORY INDEXING:   
Entitlement to No-Fault PIP Benefits: Motor Vehicle Involvement [§3105(1)]  
Duplicate Recovery [§3109(a)]   
Exception for Motorcycle Injuries [§3114(5)]  
Equal Priority Situations [§3114(6)]   
Applicability of Limitations to Claims by Insurers Against Other Insurers [§3145]

TOPICAL INDEXING:   
Not Applicable  


ORDER SUMMARY:   
In this 5-2 Michigan Supreme Court Order (with Justices Markman and Zahra dissenting), the court denied leave to appeal in a case involving whether the insurer of a police vehicle had to share the responsibility for paying PIP benefits to a motorcyclist who was being chased at a high rate of speed by the police vehicle when the motorcyclist collided with another vehicle and, therefore, whether the police vehicle was “involved in the accident” within the meaning of MCL 500.3114(5).

The Court of Appeals had ruled the police car was sufficiently involved in the accident to trigger the police vehicle’s insurer’s obligation to pay benefits, even though the motorcycle had no physical contact with the police vehicle and there was evidence the police officer had attempted to “back off” immediately before the crash.

Justice Stephen J. Markman dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision not to grant leave in the case. Justice Brian K. Zahra joined the dissent.

Justice Markman wrote:

“I would grant leave to appeal. This case, remarkable in its outcome in my judgment, features a speeding and uninsured motorcyclist who was injured when he crashed his motorcycle while fleeing from the police, and who thereafter collected a double no-fault insurance recovery. In particular, I would grant leave to decide two questions. First, whether a pursuing police vehicle was ‘involved in the accident’ for the purposes of MCL 500.3114(5)(a) of the no-fault insurance act when that police vehicle, after slowing down out of concern for the motorcyclist’s safety and for its own ability to navigate a curved dirt road, followed a half-mile and a sharp curve behind the fleeing motorcyclist such that the police vehicle could not even see the motorcycle at the time of the crash. Cf. Turner v Auto Club Ins Ass’n, 448 Mich 22, 38-40 (1995) (indicating that a police vehicle is ‘involved in the accident’ of a vehicle it is pursuing when the police vehicle ‘actively, as opposed to passively, contribute[s] to the accident’ and that there must be more than a mere ‘”but for” connection between’ the police vehicle and the accident, ‘even where a “but for” standard is narrowed by interposing a requirement of physical proximity’ between the police vehicle and the accident). Second, whether, if the police vehicle was ‘involved in the accident,’ defendant has a coverage responsibility for medical expenses in the amount of $218,000, an amount already paid by the motorcyclist’s health insurance, an issue involving an analysis of the interaction between MCL 500.3114(5)(a) and MCL 500.3109a, in circumstances in which a motorcyclist involved in an accident lacks vehicular insurance but has health insurance.”


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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