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Volume XXVII, No. 2, February 6, 2015       

From the Law Offices of Garan Lucow Miller, P.C.

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 

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**NEW LEGISLATION**

VEHICLES EXCLUDED FROM DEFINITION OF MOTOR VEHICLE;  AMENDED DEFINITION OF

 OWNER OF MOTOR VEHICLE

By Edward Freeland

Governor Snyder has signed into law two bills of interest to everyone handling no-fault claims and litigation1.  House Bill No. 5636 significantly amended MCL 500.3101 by excluding from the definition of a motor vehicle a commercial quadricycle, golf cart, moped and power driven mobility device.  This bill also redefines the definition of an owner of a motor vehicle.

MCL 500.3101(2)(b) defines a commercial quadricycle as a vehicle to which all the following apply:

 

 (i)           The vehicle has fully operative pedals for propulsion entirely by human power.

(ii)         The vehicle has at least 4 wheels and is operated in a manner similar to a bicycle.

(iii)       The vehicle has at least 6 seats for passengers.

(iv)        The vehicle is designated to be operated by a driver and powered either by passengers providing pedal power to the drive train of the vehicle or by a motor capable or propelling the vehicle in the absence of human power.

(v)          The vehicle is used for commercial purposes.

(vi)        The vehicle is operated by the owner of the vehicle or an employee of the owner of the vehicle.

 

A Golf Cart is defined by MCL 500.3101(2)(c) as “a vehicle designed for transportation while playing the game of golf.”

MCL 500.3101(2)(e) states that a moped “means that term as defined in section 32b of the Michigan vehicle code, MCL 257.32b.”2

A power driven mobility device, as defined at MCL 500.3101(2)(l) “means a wheelchair or other mobility device powered by a battery, fuel, or other engine and  designed to be used by an individual with a mobility disability for the purpose of locomotion.”

Each of these “vehicles” is excluded from the definition of a motor vehicle.  Therefore, were one injured due to the operation of one of these “vehicles” on a highway, the injured party would not be entitled to personal protection insurance benefits unless a motor vehicle, as defined by MCL 500.3101(2)(h), is also involved.

The definition of an owner has also been redefined.  MCL 500.3101(k) defines an owner as any of the following:

(i)           A person renting a motor vehicle or having the use of a motor vehicle, under a lease or otherwise, for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(ii)         A person renting a motorcycle or having the use of a motorcycle under a lease for a period that is greater than 30 days, or otherwise for a period that is greater than 30 consecutive days.  A person who borrows a motorcycle for a period that is less than 30 consecutive days with the consent of the owner is not an owner under this subparagraph.

(iii)       A person that holds the legal title to a motor vehicle or motorcycle, other than a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles or motorcycles that is the lessor of a motor vehicle or motorcycle under a lease that provides for the use of the motor vehicle or motorcycle by the lessee for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(iv)        A person that has the immediate right of possession of a motor vehicle or motorcycle under an installment sale contract.

These changes took effect on January 13, 2015 with the exception that the exclusion of a commercial quadricycle as a motor vehicle was given retroactive effect.  By these amendments, the legislature clearly wished to exclude no-fault claims by individuals injured while operating a commercial quadricycle, golf cart, moped or power driven mobility device on a public highway unless a motor vehicle was also involved.  The legislature also wished to include as an owner of a motorcycle, one renting a motorcycle or having the use of a motorcycle under a lease for a period that is greater than 30 days or otherwise using a motorcycle for a period greater than 30 consecutive days as well as one holding legal title to a motorcycle other than a person engaged in the business of leasing motorcycles under a lease that provides for the use of the motorcycle for a period greater than 30 days.

 

EXPANDED EXCLUSIONS FROM PIP BENEFITS

 

House Bill No. 1140 also redefines and expands the exclusion to no-fault benefits found at MCL 500.3113.  Subsection (a) now provides that the exclusion applies to a claimant if “[t]he person was willingly operating or willingly using a motor vehicle or motorcycle that was taken unlawfully, and the person knew or should have known that the motor vehicle or motorcycle was taken unlawfully.”  This bill also added Subsection (d) which provides that the exclusion now applies to a claimant if “[t]he person was operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle as to which he or she was named as an excluded operator as allowed under Section 3009(2).”

As amended, Subsection (a) now applies to those individuals willingly operating or willingly using a motor vehicle or motorcycle which was taken unlawfully if that person knew or should have known that the motor vehicle or motorcycle was taken unlawfully.  As such, this exclusion is not restricted to only the individual who had unlawfully taken the vehicle, thereby expanding the exclusion beyond the individual who did the actual unlawful taking.  Moreover, the newly added Subsection (d) excludes individuals from the receipt of personal protection insurance benefits if that individual was injured while operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle and was an excluded operator of the motor vehicle or motorcycle under the policy covering that motor vehicle or motorcycle.  House Bill No. 1140 takes effect January 13, 2015.

The 2015 Edition of the Garan Lucow Miller Guide to Michigan Automobile No-Fault Law was printed prior to the enactment of these House Bills.  As such, it is highly recommended that you print a copy of the House Bills and append them to the Guide to Michigan Automobile No-Fault Law pending the next publication of this Guide.  If you would like to discuss the impact of these legislative changes on any pending or future no fault claims please feel free to contact Edward M. Freeland at Efreeland@garanlucow.com or 800.875.7600, or any of our other experienced no-fault attorneys in one of GLM’s nine offices throughout the State of Michigan.

 

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LAW FIRM NEWS!

Garan Lucow Miller, PC is pleased to announce that it will move its Detroit office into the Crain Communications Inc. headquarters building on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.  The move is expected to be finalized in June 2015.

The firm has long been committed to educating its clients in various areas of the law.  The new property, which is only a few blocks from our current location, will include a high-tech instructive classroom and space to have Webinars and connect digitally with clients across the country which will enable us to take educating our clients to another level.

 

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WELCOME NEW ASSOCIATES TO GLM!

The following attorneys have joined Garan Lucow Miller:

Diego Rojas in our Grand Rapids Office

Paul Gipson in our Ann Arbor Office

and

Chantel Bahoura in our Detroit Office