Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #260963; Unpublished
Judges Fitzgerald, O’Connell, and Kelly; 2-1 (Judge O’Connell dissenting); per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion
In this 2-1 unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over the defendant, a Canadian insurance company, with regard to a Canadian resident’s claim for “unidentified” no-fault benefits filed in Michigan.
The plaintiff in this case was injured while driving in Ingham County, when she lost control of her vehicle while attempting to avoid another vehicle that had swerved into her lane. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was insured by defendant under a policy which provided “unidentified” motorist benefits. The policy was purchased in Canada and although defendant is not licensed to write automobile insurance policies in Michigan, it had filed a Certificate of Compliance under MCL 500.3163(2). Plaintiff filed an action in Ingham County to compel defendant to provide unidentified motorist benefits. The trial court denied defendant’s Motion for Summary Disposition based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that although filing a Certificate of Compliance is adequate for limited personal jurisdiction, it is inadequate to confer jurisdiction in this situation which involves contract interpretation. In so holding, the court stated:
“Unidentified motorist benefits are purely contractual and not governed by Michigan’s no-fault act. . . . In the context of limited personal jurisdiction the act giving rise to limited jurisdiction must also give rise to the underlying cause of action for a court to properly exercise jurisdiction over a claim. . . . Here, the act giving rise to jurisdiction, filing a certificate of compliance, is not related to and does not give rise to plaintiff’s cause of action for unidentified motorist benefits, which is properly characterized as a benefit dispute between two Canadian residents over a contract formed in Canada. Accordingly, the trial court did not have personal jurisdiction over defendant pursuant to MCL 600.715 for plaintiff’s claim for unidentified motorist benefits.”