United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT [DKT. NO. 41]
Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court
case stems from Defendant's denial of Plaintiff's
claim for first party no fault benefits following a motor
vehicle accident in September 2013. On or about March 25,
2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint in Genesee County Circuit
Court, and Defendant removed the case to this Court on May
29, 2014. On May 20, 2016, Defendant filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment. [Dkt. No. 41] The motion has been fully
briefed. The Court, having concluded that the decision
process would not be significantly aided by oral argument,
previously ordered that the motion be resolved on the motion
and briefs submitted by the parties. E.D. Mich. L.R.
7.1(f)(2). [Dkt. No. 51] For the reasons that follow, the
Court denies Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
is a 58-year old man who has owned more than 250 cars in his
lifetime, due in part to a compulsive buying disorder from
which Plaintiff suffers. In February 2013, Plaintiff applied
for an automobile insurance policy (the “policy”)
from Defendant for the following vehicles: a 1999 Jeep
Wrangler, a 2004 Mercury Sable (the vehicle he was driving at
the time of the accident), and a 2005 Ford Focus, each of
which he identified as being insured for personal use. Dkt.
No. 41, Ex. 2. The application contained the following
Any person who knowingly and with the intent to injure,
defraud or deceive, submits information to an insurer that is
false, incomplete or misleading, may be guilty of a crime.
Dkt. No. 41, Ex. 3. On February 7, 2013, Defendant issued
Plaintiff a policy of insurance covering those vehicles.
Prior to September 2013, an additional five vehicles were
insured on the same policy at some point, at least for a
period of time, and 11 policy changes were made during that
seven month time frame.
September 2013, Plaintiff owned approximately 30 vehicles. On
September 27, 2013, he was involved in an automobile accident
that caused the injuries that precipitated this cause of
action. After Plaintiff made his claim for benefits,
Defendant's Special Investigation Unit initiated an
investigation due to the “extraordinary amount of
activity since the policy was issued, ” and Defendant
notified Plaintiff of that investigation. Defendant indicates
that, after the investigation was conducted, the matter was
referred to Nicholas Marrangoni, the lead compliance analyst
for Defendant, then to Defendant's in-house counsel and
director of state operations for Michigan. Defendant
rescinded the policy, and a notice of rescission, together
with a representation that premiums that Plaintiff had paid
would be returned, was mailed to Plaintiff on January 9,
APPLICABLE LAW & ANALYSIS
Standard of Review
56(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedures provides that the
court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The presence of factual disputes will
preclude granting of summary judgment only if the disputes
are genuine and concern material facts. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute
about a material fact is “genuine” only if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
Although the Court must view the motion in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, where “the moving
party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent
must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 586 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered against
a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial. In such a situation, there can be “no genuine
issue as to any material fact, ” since a complete
failure of proof concerning an essential element of the
nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
A court must look to the substantive law to identify which
facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
claims that it was entitled to rescind the policy because
there is no genuine dispute that Plaintiff misrepresented to
Defendant that he used the insured vehicles for personal use.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's deposition testimony
establishes that there is no genuine dispute that he was a
dealer engaged in the business of buying and selling used
vehicles. Plaintiff contends that he was not a dealer and
simply bought the vehicles as a hobby. Defendant relies on
statements made by Plaintiff that:
1. He has owned over 250 vehicles;
2. He owned and had 30 vehicles in storage at the time of his