Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C. | A-M Law | Attorneys | Counselors

Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C.

Insurance Defense Counsel In Jurisdictions Throughout Michigan

After diligent work lasting over two years, AM Law has again prevailed on our winning appeal, Steanhouse v. MAIPF.

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Firm News

In Steanhouse II, after being remanded down from the Michigan Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals upheld their former opinion in Steanhouse I, and further ruled MCL 500.3111 and MCL 500.3114 do not conflict with MCL 500.3172(1). Most notably, the Court highlighted that “being in the order of priority does not by itself mean that the MACP is obligated to pay benefits, nor does it automatically mean that Steanhouse is eligible for benefits under the MACP’s requirements. See Griffin, 509 Mich at 498.”

A-M Law Prevails MI Court of Appeals Panel says out-of-state car accident isn't covered | Established. Reputable. Aggressive.

Read more here:

Mich. Panel Says Out-Of-State Car Accident Isn’t Covered

By Jennifer Mandato

Law360 (April 12, 2024, 5:29 PM EDT) — A Michigan resident is not entitled to insurance benefits for a car accident under the state’s no-fault law, a state appeals court has ruled, reinstating its previous decisionthat claimants are not eligible for state-provided benefits for injuries arising from out-of-state accidents.

A three-judge panel ruled Thursday that Markise Steanhouse is ineligible to claim personal protection insurance, or PIP, benefits from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, or MACP, because state law requires aclaimant to show that the accident occurred in Michigan. Steanhouse’s accident occurred in Ohio, according to the published opinion.

Steanhouse’s argument that PIP benefits are payable to him under two sections of Michigan law “skips the last step of the analysis,” as claims for PIP benefits made to the MACP have separate eligibilityrequirements, the panel said

.Steanhouse was injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ohio in November 2019. He applied for PIP benefits through the MACP almost a year later, but ultimately filed suit alleging that the MACP and itsadministrator, the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility, refused to assign him an insurer to pay the benefits.

After being denied summary disposition, the MACP appealed, and the present court reversed the trial court’s decision on the grounds that state law plainly states benefits are not payable when the underlyingaccident occurs outside of Michigan.

Steanhouse brought the dispute to the Michigan Supreme Court, which vacated the appellate court’s decision and remanded for reconsideration.

Steanhouse cited MCL 500.3111 and MCL 500.3114 in arguing that he is eligible for PIP benefits. The former states that PIP benefits are payable for injuries stemming from an out-of-state accident if “an occupant of a vehicle involved in the accident” was a Michigan resident; the latter defines whom an individual may make a claim for benefits against, including the MACP.

While these two sections may point toward Steanhouse being paid PIP benefits, the panel pointed him toward MCL 500.3172(1). This section “requires a claimant seeking benefits through the MACP to show thatthe accident giving rise to the claim occurred in Michigan,” court records show.

MCL 500.3172(1) guided the panel’s first decision, and once again the panel emphasized that the section takes priority because it is the most specific.

“MCL 500.3111 broadly provides that PIP benefits are payable to occupants in out-of-state accidents who are Michigan residents, but MCL 500.3172 specifically limits eligibility through the MACP to claims arisingfrom in-state accidents only,” the opinion said.

Under Michigan law, when two statutes seem to conflict, the court should turn to how the Legislature intended for the statutes to interact, according to the panel.

MCL 500.3111 outlines a broader topic under the state’s no-fault law, but MCL 500.3172(1) “tackles a narrower issue within that broader topic,” the panel said. Thus, MCL 500.3172(1) has control overSteanhouse’s entitlements to benefits.

As such, since 500.3172(1) excludes benefits for out-of-state accidents, the panel reinstated its previous ruling that Steanhouse is ineligible to claim PIP benefits through the MACP.

Counsel for the MACP declined to comment. A representative for Steanhouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Judges Mark J. Cavanagh, Kirsten Frank Kelly and Kristina Robinson Garrett sat on the panel for the state appeals court.

Steanhouse is represented by Preston M. Denha and Brian A. Carrier of Kajy Law Firm PLLC.

The MACP is represented by John Ruth of Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C. and by Lori McAllister and Erin Ann Sedmak of Dykema Goss.