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Detroit Medical Center v Titan Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 3/31/2009, RB #3056)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #283815; Unpublished
Judges Wilder, Meter, and Servitto; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [3101(1)]
Definition of Owner [3101(2)(h)]
Disqualification for Uninsured Owners or Registrants of Involved Motor Vehicles or Motorcycles [3113(b)]

Not applicable

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion decided without oral argument, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s Order denying defendant Titan Insurance Company’s motion for summary disposition, finding that the injured person was not an owner of the vehicle she was driving at the time of the accident, where she did not have possession of the keys and had to ask permission to drive the vehicle each time she wanted to use it.

The plaintiff in this case, Detroit Medical Center, brought this action for payment from defendant Titan Insurance Company for medical services provided to the uninsured driver, Maria Jimenez. Titan denied payment of personal injury protection benefits, arguing that the driver was an owner of the vehicle under MCL 500.3101(2)(g)(i) and, therefore, was not entitled to benefits under MCL 500.3113 because the vehicle was uninsured.

In affirming, the Court of Appeals noted that although the vehicle was stored at Jimenez’s residence, it was owned by Jose Gonzalez. Jimenez used the vehicle to do the grocery shopping, but she had to ask permission and get the keys from Gonzalez. In addition, she only used the vehicle approximately seven times in a one-month period. Based on these facts, the court concluded that Jimenez did not have use of the vehicle for more than 30 days. In addition, she did not have continuous use of the vehicle, her use was sporadic, she was required to ask permission, and she did not have her own set of car keys. In this regard, the court stated:

Here, Jimenez did not ‘hav[e] the use’ of the vehicle ‘for a period that is greater than 30 days.’ There was no transfer of a right of use, but simply an agreement to periodically lend. The permission was not for a contiguous 30 days, but sporadic. . . .  She had to ask permission and had to be given the keys. . . .  Accordingly, the trial court did not err when it concluded that Jimenez was not an owner of Gonzalez’ vehicle.”

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