United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING ATTIC'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. 58). GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (Doc. 57). and DENYING IN PART WITH PREJUDICE AND
DENYING IN PART WITHOUT PREJUDICE STATE FARM'S MOTION TO
DISMISS (Doc. 56)
COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an insurance case. The case has two parts. The first deals
with an insurer priority dispute. The second deals with
proofs of benefits owed.
PART ONE: Which Insurer Is Responsible
John Evans is a truck driver and Michigan resident. On
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, Evans was involved in a motor vehicle
accident in Cleveland, Ohio while hauling a load of steel
from Michigan to New York.
was engaged to haul the load by a trucking company, T.S.
Expediting Services, Inc. (TSE). TSE's liability insurer
is Defendant American Trucking and Transportation Insurance
Company (ATTIC), a Montana corporation.
was hospitalized for neck and back injuries and discharged
the next day. In the year after, he received medical
treatment and physical therapy, but did not work.
seeks payment of personal protection insurance (PIP)
benefits, for work loss and replacement services under the
Michigan No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act (No-Fault Act),
M.C.L § 500.3101, et seq. Evans claims the PIP
benefits as a spouse under an automobile insurance policy
issued to his wife by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company (State Farm), an Illinois corporation.
is no dispute Evans is covered for PIP benefits under the
No-Fault Act related to his accident. However, State Farm
says ATTIC is the priority insurer under the No-Fault Act
because TSE, ATTIC'S insured, was Evans's employer
and furnished the truck he drove. ATTIC says State Farm is
liable as Evans was not TSE's employee but an independent
removed the case from Oakland County Circuit Court based on
Farm moved to dismiss, (Doc. 56). Evans moved for summary
judgment, (Doc. 57). ATTIC moved for summary judgment, (Doc.
58). The 3 motions concern in part which insurer-State Farm
or ATTIC-is responsible to pay PIP benefits to Evans.
be explained, State Farm-not ATTIC-is the responsible insurer
for payment of PIP benefits to Evans under the No-Fault Act.
To this extent, ATTIC's motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED. ATTIC is terminated as a party.
is entitled to PIP benefits from State Farm as a spouse under
his wife's policy. To this extent, Evans's motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED IN PART and State Farm's
motion to dismiss is DENIED IN PART WITH PREJUDICE.
Lisa Tucker's Arrangement with TSE
drove a truck for Lisa Tucker (Tucker). Tucker provided
transportation services to TSE. Tucker leased a cab to TSE.
TSE leased its semi-trailer to her. Tucker had exclusive use
of the cab and semi-trailer. She could use the cab for any
purpose, but the semi-trailer only for TSE business. Tucker
engaged a driver to haul TSE-dispatched loads to specified
locations using the cab and semi-trailer.
arrangement with TSE was governed by a "Motor Vehicle
Lease and Independent Contractor Agreement." The
agreement said "the relationship herein created is that
of independent contractor, and NOT THAT OF EMPLOYER AND
EMPLOYEE." (Doc. 58-3 at 8). Tucker was free to (1)
accept or reject a load for any reason, (2) set her hours,
and (3) select routes and stops within a delivery timetable.
Tucker separately (1) paid income tax on her earnings, (2)
filed tax report forms, (3) deducted income-tax withholdings
from her earnings, and (4) paid the expenses of operation
including compensation for drivers and maintenance costs of
provided PIP insurance "to the extent required by
law" while the cab and semi-trailer were used in
transportation services for TSE. Tucker paid for property and
liability insurance for the cab when it was not used for TSE
transportation services. Either Tucker or TSE could terminate
the agreement at any time with 7 days' notice.