Circuit Court LC No. 14-008077-NF
Before: Saad, P.J., and Cavanagh and Cameron, JJ.
no-fault priority case, defendant Farm Bureau Insurance
Company (Farm Bureau) appeals the trial court's order
that denied its motion for summary disposition. For the
reasons provided below, we reverse and remand for entry of
summary disposition in favor of Farm Bureau.
NATURE OF THE CASE
case arises from an accident involving a vehicle and
plaintiff. Plaintiff was working outside the vehicle when the
vehicle slipped into gear and injured him. Plaintiff
thereafter sought the recovery of personal protection
insurance (PIP) benefits under Michigan's no-fault act,
MCL 500.3101 et seq. The resolution of this case
depends on the proper interpretation of an insurance policy
issued by Farm Bureau, who insured the vehicle for
comprehensive coverage, and a portion of the no-fault act.
trial court ruled, incorrectly, that because plaintiff
qualified as an "insured" under the policy and
because the vehicle was a "covered auto" on the
policy because it was listed on the policy for comprehensive
coverage, plaintiff could recover PIP benefits from Farm
Bureau. However, and most importantly, because the vehicle
was not a "covered auto" for the purposes of PIP
benefits, plaintiff cannot rely on the insurance policy to
recover those benefits from Farm Bureau. In other words, the
policy undoubtedly expanded on who typically is considered an
"insured" to include plaintiff, but that specific
expansion did not alter the actual coverage provided by the
policy. Here, the policy clearly did not provide PIP coverage
for the vehicle, which means that plaintiff cannot recover
PIP benefits based on the terms of the policy that Farm
trial court also ruled that MCL 500.3115(1) of the no-fault
act requires Farm Bureau to provide PIP benefits to plaintiff
regardless of the coverage listed in the policy. MCL
500.3115(1) can indeed require insurers to provide PIP
benefits although they did not provide PIP coverage for the
vehicle involved in the accident. However, in order to
recover under this provision, the owner of the vehicle
involved in the accident must have PIP coverage from some
source. Here, the owner of the vehicle did not have PIP
coverage (through Farm Bureau or otherwise). While Farm
Bureau's policy provided PIP coverage to other vehicles,
it cannot be said that the owner was covered. The
named insured on the policy was a company, and the owner was
named as a "designated insured" in Farm
Bureau's policy solely for purposes of liability
insurance, not PIP coverage. Therefore, Farm Bureau is not a
PIP insurer of the owner of the vehicle that was involved in
the accident. Consequently, MCL 500.3115(1) does not allow
plaintiff to recover PIP benefits from Farm Bureau.
the trial court erred when it ruled that Farm Bureau was
liable to pay PIP benefits to plaintiff. We reverse and
instruct the court to grant summary disposition in favor of
underlying facts are undisputed. Plaintiff is the owner of
Gurski Auto Repair Shop and Services. On June 24, 2013,
plaintiff was injured while working on a 1993 Jeep Wrangler
at his shop. When plaintiff tried to jump-start the
Jeep's battery, the Jeep somehow slid into gear and ran
over his leg.
owner of the Jeep is Andy Frazier (Mr. Frazier). Mr.
Frazier's business, Frazier Construction, LLC, had an
insurance policy with Farm Bureau. On that policy, it listed
Frazier Construction as the "named insured."
However, elsewhere in the policy, it listed Mr. Frazier as a
"designated insured." The endorsement related to
the "designated insured" provides, in pertinent
Each person or organization shown in the Additional Interest
Schedule as a Designated Insured is an "insured"
for LIABILITY COVERAGE, but only to the extent that person or
organization qualifies as an "insured" under the
WHO IS AN INSURED provision contained in Section II of the
We will pay the damages for which the Designated Insured
becomes legally liable only if the damages arise out of the
negligence of the Named Insured.
policy listed three different vehicles: a 2011 trailer, the
1993 Jeep that was involved with the accident, and a 2004
Ford F250 truck. However, while the Ford F250 and trailer had
personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, the Jeep did
Under the "Michigan Personal Injury Protection"
section of the policy, it states in pertinent part:
We will pay personal injury protection benefits to or for an
"insured" who sustains "bodily injury"
caused by an "accident" and resulting from the
ownership, maintenance, or use of an "auto" as an
under "WHO IS AN INSURED, " the policy states:
1. You or any "family member".
2. Anyone else who sustains "bodily injury":
c. While not occupying any "auto" as a result of an
"accident" involving a covered "auto".
policy also included a section, titled "Elimination of
Mandatory Coverage, " which states:
In accordance with the named Insured's request, coverages
mandatory under Michigan's No-Fault Auto Insurance Law
have been eliminated from a vehicle(s) covered by the policy.
The company shall not be liable for loss, damage, and/or
liability caused while such a vehicle(s) is moved or
attempted to recover PIP benefits through all three
defendants. Defendant Motorists Mutual, who had issued a
no-fault policy to plaintiff's business, denied the claim
because plaintiff was not a named insurer under its policy.
Defendant Farm Bureau denied coverage because the policy does
not provide PIP benefits for the Jeep. And defendant Michigan
Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF) refused to
assign plaintiff's claim to an insurer because it
determined that Farm Bureau was liable for providing
coverage. Plaintiff thereafter filed suit.
filed a motion for summary disposition and argued that it
should be dismissed from the case because coverage is
available under the Farm Bureau policy. Farm Bureau argued
that it cannot be liable for PIP benefits because it is not
an insurer of the owner of the Jeep for purposes of no-fault
receiving competing motions for summary disposition from the
various parties, the trial court issued its order, which
denied Farm Bureau's motion and partially granted
plaintiff's and motion. The court found that Farm Bureau