United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ERIC K. PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
PROTECTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING PROTECTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY'S
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#15]
Page Hood, United States District Court Chief Judge
has filed an uninsured motorist claim and a claim for
No-Fault personal injury protection (“PIP”)
benefits against Defendant Protective Insurance Company
(“Defendant”) and John Doe for injuries suffered
in an automobile accident that occurred on January 23, 2014.
Plaintiff filed his action in, and Defendant removed the case
from, Wayne County Circuit Court, in early 2016. On November
15, 2016, Defendant filed a Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. [#15] Plaintiff's response was filed nearly six
weeks late (and less than a week before the hearing).
Defendant filed a reply. A hearing was held on January 25,
2017. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants
Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
Plaintiff was involved in the automobile accident on January
23, 2014, he was working as an independent contractor for
FedEx. Defendant had issued a policy of insurance for
“Certain Independent Contractors Under Lease to FedEx
Ground Package System, Inc. d/b/a Home Delivery, ”
pursuant to which Plaintiff was insured. Shortly after the
January 23, 2014 accident, Plaintiff filed a claim for
workers compensation benefits, and he received workers
compensation benefits until an independent medical
examination determined that Plaintiff no longer met the
criteria for those benefits.
did not make a claim for benefits from Defendant immediately
after the January 23, 2014 accident. Plaintiff first
requested uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits from
Defendant when he filed this lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit
Court on January 5, 2016. See Dkt. No. 1, PgID 38
(“Response” to “Request to Admit #3).
Defendant filed an answer and affirmative defenses in Wayne
County Circuit Court on or about January 28, 2016, and
removed Plaintiff's cause of action to this Court on
February 12, 2016.
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 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 metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenth Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 586 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Caterett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986). Summary Judgement 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 face, ” 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 at the substantive law to identify which
facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
to the No-Fault Act, the statute of limitations for bringing
an action for PIP benefits expires one year after the date of
the accident causing the injury. See M.C.L. §
500.3145(1), which provides, in relevant part:
An action for recovery of personal protection insurance
benefits payable under this chapter for accidental bodily
injury may not be commenced later than 1 year after the date
of the accident causing the injury unless written notice of
injury as provided herein has been given to the insurer
within 1 year after the accident or unless the insurer has
previously made a payment of personal protection insurance
benefits for the injury. If the notice has been given or a
payment has been made, the action may be commenced at any
time within 1 year after the most recent allowable expense,
work loss or survivor's loss has been incurred. However,
the claimant may not recover benefits for any portion of the
loss incurred more than 1 year before the date on which the
action was commenced. The notice of injury required by this
subsection may be given to the insurer or any of its
authorized agents by a person claiming to be entitled to
benefits therefor, or by someone in his behalf. The notice
shall give the name and address of the claimant and indicate
in ordinary language the name of the person injured and the
time, place and nature of his injury.
case, it is undisputed that: (1) the injury occurred on
January 23, 2014; and (2) Plaintiff did not notify Defendant
of his request for uninsured or underinsured motorist
benefits until nearly two years later, when he filed this
lawsuit on January 5, 2016 and served Defendant on January
11, 2016. The Court finds that those undisputed facts
establish that Plaintiff did not commence his action within
one year of the date of the accident causing Plaintiff's
injury. The Court holds that Plaintiff's claims for
No-Fault PIP benefits are barred by the statute of
limitations set forth in M.C.L. § 500.3145(1). The Court
grants Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
and dismisses Plaintiff's claims for No-Fault PIP
claims for benefits or expenses also are barred for the
period prior to January 5, 2015, pursuant to the
“one-year-back rule.” As set forth in MCL §
500.3145(1), “the claimant may not recover benefits for
any portion of the loss incurred more than 1 year before the
date on which the action was commenced.” See also
Hudick v. Hastings Mut. Ins. Co., 247 Mich.App. 602, 607
(2001) (citation and internal quotations omitted)
(“Pursuant to the one-year-back rule of the statute,
even where the period of limitations is tolled under the
notice of injury or payment for benefits exceptions, an
insured can only recover benefits for losses incurred within
one year preceding the commencement of the action.”).
Accordingly, Plaintiff cannot recover any benefits or
expenses incurred prior to January 5, 2015.
also asserts that any benefits required to be provided by
workers compensation must be subtracted from any No-Fault
benefits Defendant would have to pay. Defendant relies on
M.C.L. § 500.3109(1), which has bee applied with respect
to workers compensation benefits. See Mathis v.
Interstate Motor Freight Syst., 408 Mich. 164, 187
(1980); Gregory v. Transamerica Ins. Co., 425 Mich.
625, 631-32, 636 (1986) (“The offset statute, and this
Court's application of it, reflect a determination that
the workers' compensation system should be the primary
insurer with respect to disabilities arising from an
automobile accident at work” and “the ...