Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #320775; Unpublished
Judges Boonstra, Saad, and Murray; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of/Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Motor Vehicle Involvement [§3105(1)]
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held an injured plaintiff was not entitled to PIP benefits after contracting fungal meningitis from a contaminated steroid injection, because the meningitis infection was too attenuated from plaintiff’s use of his motor vehicle to be considered “arising out of” the use of the vehicle within the meaning of MCL 500.3105(1).
Plaintiff injured his back in an auto accident and settled his PIP claim with defendant Home-Owners. Plaintiff received steroid injections as part of the pain management program for his back injury. One of the steroid injections was contaminated and plaintiff contracted fungal meningitis. As a result, plaintiff was treated for the infection, including long-term antifungal therapy. Plaintiff then brought this action for additional PIP benefits, to cover the treatment of the infection. Home-Owners moved for partial summary disposition, asserting the infection and its treatment did not “arise out of” the use of plaintiff’s motor vehicle within the meaning of §3105(1). The trial court denied Home-Owners’ motion.
The Court of Appeals held that plaintiff’s injuries did not “arise out of” the use of the motor vehicle as a motor vehicle under §3105(1). In so holding, the court reasoned that plaintiff’s infection constituted a new injury, the cause of which was the negligent manufacture of the steroid — not the auto accident.
In this regard, the Court of Appeals said:
“Considered in a light most favorable to plaintiff, the evidence shows that he suffered a back injury while using his motor vehicle as a motor vehicle. However, the injury for which he now seeks benefits, i.e., the fungal meningitis infection, was not the result of the accident or the injuries it caused. Rather, the infection is the direct result of the intervening negligence of the third-party manufacturer of the steroid. The injury would not have occurred had the steroid not been contaminated when plaintiff received the injection. The infection is too remote and too attenuated from the use of the motor vehicle as a motor vehicle to permit a finding that the causal connection between the accident and the fungal meningitis infection was anything but incidental, fortuitous, or but for. … The trial court erred when it reached the contrary conclusion.”
Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, instructing the trial court to issue an order granting partial summary disposition to Home-Owners.