Lenawee Circuit Court LC No. 16-005615-NI
Before: Boonstra, P.J., and Beckering and Ronayne Krause, JJ.
third-party no-fault action, plaintiffs appeal by right the
trial court's order granting summary disposition in favor
of defendants under MCR 2.116(C)(8). We reverse and remand
for further proceedings.
PERTINENT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Tracy Brickey (Tracy) was operating his motorcycle on U.S.
223 when he was struck by a vehicle driven by defendant
Vincent McCarver (McCarver). Tracy was severely injured.
filed suit against defendants, arguing that (1) McCarver
negligently operated a vehicle and caused injury to Tracy,
(2) CR Motors was liable for McCarver's negligence under
Michigan's owner's liability statute and the doctrine
of negligent entrustment, and (3) McCarver's negligence
additionally resulted in plaintiff Brandy Brickey's loss
of consortium. Defendants answered the complaint and also
moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(8) and (10).
Defendants contended in their motion that the motorcycle
Tracy was operating at the time of the accident was
uninsured, and that plaintiffs accordingly were precluded
from recovery under MCL 500.3135(2)(c). The trial court
agreed, relying on Braden v Spencer, 100 Mich.App.
523; 299 N.W.2d 65 (1980), and granted summary disposition in
favor of defendants under MCR 2.116(C)(8) (failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted). It subsequently denied
plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration. This appeal
STANDARD OF REVIEW
trial court's ruling on a motion for summary disposition
is reviewed de novo on appeal." ZCD Transp, Inc v
State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 299 Mich.App. 336, 339; 830
N.W.2d 428 (2012), citing Moser v Detroit, 284
Mich.App. 536, 538; 772 N.W.2d 823 (2009). "A motion
brought under subrule (C)(8) tests the legal sufficiency of
the complaint solely on the basis of the pleadings."
Dalley v Dykema Gossett, 287 Mich.App. 296, 304; 788
N.W.2d 679 (2010), citing Corley v Detroit Bd of Ed,
470 Mich. 274, 277; 681 N.W.2d 342 (2004). Summary
disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(8) is appropriately granted if
the opposing party has failed to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. Id. "When deciding a
motion under (C)(8), this Court accepts all well-pleaded
factual allegations as true and construes them in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party." Dalley,
287 Mich.App. at 304-305, citing Maiden v Rozwood,
461 Mich. 109, 119; 597 N.W.2d 817 (1999). A motion under MCR
2.116(C)(8) "should be granted only when the claim is so
clearly unenforceable as a matter of law that no factual
development could possibly justify a right of recovery."
Kuhn v Secretary of State, 228 Mich.App. 319, 324;
579 N.W.2d 101 (1998), citing Wade v Dep't of
Corrections, 439 Mich. 158, 163; 483 N.W.2d 26 (1992).
review de novo questions of statutory interpretation.
McLean v McElhaney, 289 Mich.App. 592, 596; 798
N.W.2d 29 (2010).
argue that the trial court erred by granting summary
disposition in favor of defendants because MCL
500.3135(2)(c), by its plain language, only applies to
uninsured "motor vehicles, " as opposed to
motorcycles, and therefore does not limit plaintiffs'
right to seek damages in tort. We agree.
primary rule of statutory interpretation is that we are to
effect the intent of the Legislature." Stanton v
City of Battle Creek, 466 Mich. 611, 615; 647 N.W.2d 508
(2002), citing Wickens v Oakwood Healthcare Sys, 465
Mich. 53, 60; 631 N.W.2d 686 (2001). " 'To do so, we
begin with the language of the statute, ascertaining the
intent that may reasonably be inferred from its
language.' " Odom v Wayne Co, 482 Mich.
459, 467; 760 N.W.2d 217 (2008), quoting Lash v Traverse
City, 479 Mich. 180, 187; 735 N.W.2d 628 (2007).
"Our primary focus" in statutory interpretation
"is the language of the statute under review." See
People v Harris, 499 Mich. 332, 345; 885 N.W.2d 832
(2016). If the language is unambiguous, the intent of the
Legislature is clear and " 'judicial construction is
neither necessary nor permitted.' " Odom,
482 Mich. at 467, quoting Lash, 479 Mich. at 187.
words of the statute provide the best evidence of legislative
intent and the policy choices made by the Legislature.
White v City of Ann Arbor, 406 Mich. 554, 562; 281
N.W.2d 283 (1979). Our role as members of the judiciary is
not to second-guess those policy decisions or to change the
words of a statute in order to reach a different result. In
fact, a "clear and unambiguous statute leaves no room
for judicial construction or interpretation."
Coleman v Gurwin, 443 Mich. 59, 65; 503 N.W.2d 435
(1993). Therefore, we start by examining the words of the
statute, which "should be interpreted on the basis of
their ordinary meaning and the context within which they are
used in the statute." People v Zajaczkowski,