Kalamazoo CC: 2014-000452-CK
Stephen J. Markman, Chief Justice Brian K. Zahra Bridget M.
McCormack David F. Viviano Richard H. Bernstein Kurtis T.
Wilder Elizabeth T. Clement, Justices
order of the Court, the application for leave to appeal the
September 12, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeals is
considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded
that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.
Markman, C.J. (dissenting).
respectfully dissent. I would grant leave to appeal to
consider whether the Court of Appeals correctly determined
that the insurance contract at issue "irreconcilably
conflicted" regarding the amount of time plaintiff had
to file suit for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits.
17, 2010, plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident
when her car was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by
Conor Lewis. On May 2, 2013, plaintiff filed suit against
Lewis for negligence. While that suit was pending,
Lewis's insurer- defendant-filed a declaratory judgment
action seeking a ruling that it had no duty to reimburse
Lewis in the negligence action because of a policy exclusion,
and on June 23, 2014, summary disposition was granted in
defendant's favor. On August 20, 2014, plaintiff filed
the instant suit against Farm Bureau (also her insurer)
seeking UM benefits under her policy. Farm Bureau moved for
summary disposition, arguing that plaintiff's suit was
untimely because it was filed more than three years after the
date of the accident. The trial court denied this motion, and
the Court of Appeals affirmed. Wagner v Farm Bureau Mut
Ins Co of Mich, 321 Mich.App. 251 (2017).
issue here is whether plaintiff's suit for UM benefits is
barred by the contractual period of limitations. As this
Court has explained:
Uninsured motorist insurance permits an injured motorist to
obtain coverage from his or her own insurance company to the
extent that a third-party claim would be permitted against
the uninsured at-fault driver. Uninsured motorist coverage is
optional; it is not compulsory coverage mandated by the
no-fault act. Accordingly, the rights and limitations of such
coverage are purely contractual and are construed without
reference to the no-fault act. [Rory v Continental Ins
Co, 473 Mich. 457, 465-466 (2005) (citations omitted).]
unambiguous contractual provision must be enforced "as
written unless the provision would violate law or public
policy." Id. at 470. A contractual term is only
"ambiguous" if the contract is
"equally susceptible to more than a single
meaning, " Barton-Spencer v Farm Bureau Life Ins Co
of Mich, 500 Mich. 32, 40 (2017) (emphasis added), or if
two provisions of the contract "irreconcilably
conflict with each other, " Klapp v United Ins Group
Agency, Inc, 468 Mich. 459, 467 (2003) (emphasis added).
"[A] finding of ambiguity is to be reached only after
'all other conventional means of [ ] interpretation'
have been applied and found wanting." Mayor of the
City of Lansing v Pub Serv Comm, 470 Mich. 154, 165
(2004), quoting Klapp, 468 Mich. at 474.
contract at issue specifically addresses the amount of time
plaintiff has to bring suit against Farm Bureau seeking UM
3. Time Limitation for Action Against Us
Any person seeking Uninsured Motorist Coverage must:
a. present the claim for compensatory damages in compliance
with all the Duties After an Accident or Loss listed on page
4 of this policy and all other terms and conditions of this
coverage and policy; and
b. present to us a written notice of the claim for Uninsured
Motorist Coverage within three years after ...