George Sinas Argues Important No-Fault Case at the Michigan Supreme Court

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, George Sinas argued the case of Admire v Auto-Owners Insurance Company, a case that has enormous implications for catastrophically injured motor vehicle accident victims entitled to claim no-fault benefits. Our client, Kenneth Admire, was paralyzed as a result of a 1988 motor vehicle accident. As a result of his paralysis, Mr. Admire requires handicap-accessible transportation. In recognition of its obligation under the Michigan No-Fault Act to pay for Mr. Admire’s handicap-accessible transportation needs, Auto-Owners purchased three different vans for Mr. Admire between the time period of 1988 through 2006. However, when Mr. Admire requested that Auto-Owners purchase another replacement van to accommodate his handicap-accessible transportation needs, Auto-Owners claimed that under the Michigan Supreme Court’s holding in Griffith v State Farm, it was no longer obligated to purchase a handicap-accessible van for Mr. Admire and that it was only obligated to pay for the cost to modify a vehicle.

Our law firm successfully defeated Auto-Owners’ argument at the trial court. Auto-Owners then appealed the trial court’s ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that Auto-Owners was obligated to purchase the handicap-accessible van for Mr. Admire. Please follow this link to read the Court of Appeals Opinion in Admire v Auto-Owners.

Auto-Owners then appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. In March 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court held mini oral arguments to determine whether it should hear the case. Steve Sinas argued the case on behalf of Mr. Admire and explained to the Court that the Court of Appeals was correct in its holding and there was no need for the Michigan Supreme Court to hear the case and change the well-established law that allowed catastrophically injured no-fault claimants to claim the full cost of handicap-accessible transportation as a no-fault benefit. However, the Michigan Supreme Court decided to take the case, and ordered the parties to fully brief all of the issues. Read the brief written by Steve Sinas and George Sinas.

At the oral arguments on November 14, 2012, George Sinas argued that Auto-Owners was wrong in its position that it was no longer responsible to purchase a handicap-accessible van for Mr. Admire. Auto­-Owners argued that it did not have to purchase the van and, furthermore, argued that a no-fault insurer is not also responsible to purchase handicap-accessible housing accommodations for catastrophically injured no-fault claimants. George Sinas eloquently and passionately argued against Auto-Owners arguments and explained why the arguments were contrary to the language of the Michigan No-Fault Act and established case law. George Sinas also explained to the Court how ruling in Auto-Owners favor would ultimately deprive catastrophically injured motor vehicle accident victims critically important no-fault benefits for their care, recovery, and/or rehabilitation.

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