Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 325393; Unpublished
Judges O’Connell, Markey, and O’Brien; Unanimous, Per Curiam
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that plaintiff violated MCL 500.3113(a) when she unlawfully took her boyfriend’s company-owned vehicle without having a reasonable basis to believe that she could use it, and therefore she was not entitled to PIP benefits when she was in an accident while driving the vehicle.
Plaintiff was injured in accident while operating a Santa Fe belonging to Diversified Sealcoating, a company owned vehicle by her boyfriend, Joseph Jaye. When defendant Progressive denied plaintiff’s claim for PIP benefits, she filed this action seeking coverage. The trial court granted summary disposition to Progressive, finding §3113(a) barred plaintiff from receiving benefits.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling, finding that plaintiff did not have the requisite authority to take the Santa Fe. In this regard, the Court noted that plaintiff had never previously driven the Santa Fe, and plaintiff admitted Jaye never gave her permission to use the company-owned vehicle and that he did not know she was taking it. The Court further explained that plaintiff also acknowledged she had a restricted license that required her to only operate vehicle with an interlock devices to detect if the driver is intoxicated and, therefore, she could not have reasonably believed she had Jaye’s authority to use the vehicle. Based on the testimony in the case, the Court of Appeals concludedthere was no genuine issue of material that plaintiff knowingly took the Santa Fe without the owner’s authority and, therefore, was disqualified from benefits under §3113(a):
“Although plaintiff and Jaye lived together and plaintiff used Jaye’s other vehicle, plaintiff had never previously driven the Santa Fe and did not have her own set of keys. Moreover, as a company vehicle, the Santa Fe was also not kept at their home. Plaintiff further testified that she was required to drive vehicles that were equipped with interlock devices because of a previous conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. She knew that she probably should not drive the Santa Fe because it did not have an interlock device. Jaye was also aware of the restriction on plaintiff’s driving. Accordingly, there was no genuine issue of the material fact that plaintiff knowingly took the Santa Fe without the owner’s authority.”