Circuit Court LC No. 15-011245-NF
Before: Saad, P.J., and Cavanagh and Cameron, JJ.
action to recover personal injury protection (PIP) benefits,
defendant appeals the trial court's denial of its motion
for summary disposition. In this case of first impression, we
are asked to provide the proper interpretation of MCL
500.3173a(2), which imposes consequences for supplying false
information "in support of a claim to the Michigan
automobile insurance placement facility." Because
plaintiff knowingly made false and material statements that
were used to support a claim which was submitted to the
Michigan automobile insurance placement facility (MAIPF), a
fraudulent insurance act was committed, and plaintiff is
precluded from recovering on his claim. Accordingly, we
reverse the denial of defendant's motion for summary
September 12, 2014, plaintiff was struck by a hit-and-run
driver. Because plaintiff was uninsured at the time of the
accident, and because the driver of the other vehicle could
not be identified, plaintiff made a claim for PIP benefits
through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP), which is
maintained by the MAIPF. The MAIPF assigned defendant to handle
plaintiff's claims in accordance with the provisions of
the Michigan no-fault act, MCL 500.3101 et seq.
defendant paid over $150, 000 in PIP benefits to plaintiff,
it refused to pay other PIP benefits, including any for
attendant or replacement-care services. Among the
documentation submitted to defendant in support of a claim
for PIP benefits were replacement-services calendars for the
months of August, September, and October 2015. The calendars
purportedly were signed by Andrew Candler, plaintiff's
brother, and showed that Andrew provided care to plaintiff
during these three months. However, during discovery, it was
learned that Andrew last provided services to plaintiff in
July 2015. After this time, plaintiff moved from Rochester to
Detroit to live with his girlfriend, who took over providing
replacement services for plaintiff. Plaintiff's counsel
at the trial court conceded that plaintiff had signed his
brother's name to these calendars.
filed the instant suit to recover the owed PIP benefits.
Defendant moved for summary disposition and argued that MCL
500.3173a(2) precluded plaintiff from recovering any PIP
benefits because of the false statements that were provided.
After accepting supplemental briefs from the parties, the
trial court denied defendant's motion.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
moved for summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(8) and
(10), but because the resolution of the motion required
consideration of evidence outside the pleadings, we will
treat the motion as having been decided under MCR
2.116(C)(10). See Travis v Dreis & Krump Mfg Co,
453 Mich. 149, 183-184; 551 N.W.2d 132 (1996). We review a
trial court's decision on a motion for summary
disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10) de novo. See Maiden v
Rozwood, 461 Mich. 109, 118; 597 N.W.2d 817 (1999). A
motion under this court rule "tests the factual
sufficiency of the complaint." Id. at 120.
"In evaluating a motion for summary disposition brought
under this subsection, a trial court considers affidavits,
pleadings, depositions, and admissions, and other evidence
submitted by the parties in the light most favorable to the
party opposing the motion." Id. (citation
omitted). The motion is properly granted "if there is no
genuine issue concerning any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Hazle v Ford Motor Co, 464 Mich. 456, 461; 628
N.W.2d 515 (2001).
of this issue also involves questions of statutory
interpretation, which are questions of law that we review de
novo. Szpak v Inyang, 290 Mich.App. 711, 713; 803
N.W.2d 904 (2010).
argues that the trial court erred when it denied its motion
for summary disposition because MCL 500.3173a(2) dictates a
different result. We agree.
goal in interpreting statutes is to give effect to the intent
of the Legislature. Titan Ins Co v Farmers Ins Exch,
241 Mich.App. 258, 261; 615 N.W.2d 774 (2000). "In
determining the intent of the Legislature, this Court must
first look to the language of the statute." Bush v
Shabahang, 484 Mich. 156, 166-167; 772 N.W.2d 272
(2009). "If the language is clear and unambiguous, we
assume the Legislature intended its plain meaning, and the