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Volume XXVI, No. 12, April 22, 2014    

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

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 

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COURT OF APPEALS REITERATES THE STANDARD TO BE EMPLOYED WHEN DETERMINING WHETHER AN INSURANCE COMPANY UNREASONABLY REFUSED TO PAY BENEFITS

CONTRIBUTOR – PAUL E. TOWER

 

In McGhee v State Farm (Court of Appeals No. 311976), the Court of Appeals in this unpublished opinion reiterated the standard to be used in determining whether no-fault attorney fees should be awarded in no-fault cases.  MCLA § 500.3148(1) provides,

An attorney is entitled to a reasonable fee for advising and representing a claimant in an action for personal or property protection insurance benefits which are overdue.  The attorney’s fee shall be charged against the insurer in addition to the benefits recovered, if the court finds that the insurer unreasonably refused to pay the claim or unreasonably delayed in making proper payment.

In McGhee, a jury determined that a plaintiff was entitled to wage loss benefits but not replacement services.  Despite the jury’s award of some no-fault benefits, the Court of Appeals reiterated that the inquiry is not dependent on whether the insurer was ultimately held responsible for benefits.  Instead the question is whether the insurance company’s initial refusal to pay was reasonable.  A refusal to pay is not unreasonable if it is based upon a bona fide factual uncertainty.  In McGhee, State Farm denied benefits based upon an independent medical examination.  The Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that State Farm’s denial was reasonable.

There should be a word of caution.  The issue in McGhee was whether the trial court abused its discretion in failing to award no-fault attorney fees.  The Court of Appeals said that the decision about whether an insurer acted reasonably involves a mixed question of law and facts.  The Court of Appeals noted, “A decision is clearly erroneous when the reviewing court is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.”  Accordingly, in McGhee, the Court of Appeals gave the trial court a considerable amount of deference.

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GARAN LUCOW MILLER GRAND RAPIDS SPRING BREAKFAST SEMINAR

April 23, 2014 at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

You and your co-workers are invited to attend our complimentary Annual Spring Breakfast Seminar at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on April 23, 2014.  After the seminar, please enjoy all of the indoor and outdoor garden areas as our guests, including the always wonderful Butterflies Are Blooming exhibit.

If you are able to attend, please R.S.V.P., along with the full names and number of attendees, to Lynn Beatty at lbeatty@garanlucow.com  or call our office at 616-742-5500.  We look forward to seeing you at the gardens.

AGENDA

8:00 – 8:20 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:20 – 8:25 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

David N. Campos, Moderator

 

8:25- 8:50 a.m. A View From the Bench

Special Guest Speaker: Hon. James R. Redford, Kent County Circuit Court

 

8:50 – 9:50 a.m. Michigan First Party No-Fault (PIP) Updates

A comprehensive review of significant court decisions over the past year.

Speaker: David N. Campos

 

9:50 – 10:15 a.m. Property Protection Insurance (PPI) Updates

A presentation specifically focused on Property Protection Insurance claims and strategies for successful handling.

Speaker: Tara L. Velting

 

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

 

10:30 – 10:50 a.m. Michigan Third-Party (Automobile Negligence) Updates

How courts are applying McCormick v Carrier, and the continued importance of using a wide variety of social networking sites for impeachment.

Speaker: David A. Couch

 

10:50 – 11:10 a.m. Updated Strategies for Handling Vehicle and Home Modifications Cases

A presentation specifically focused on Admire v Auto Owners, 494 Mich. 10 (2013) and its effect on modifications claims.

Speaker: Emily L. Partridge

 

11:10 – 11:50 a.m. Using Biomechanical Engineering to Strengthen Your Case

Guest Speaker: Brian T. Weaver, P.E., Weaver Engineering Co.

 

11:50 – 12:20 p.m. Michigan Premises Liability Updates

Speaker: Nathan A. Dodson

 

12:20 – 12:30 p.m. Question and Answer Session With the Panel Speakers

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INDY CITY SEMINAR

REGISTER NOW:  ecarty@garanlucow.com

GARAN LUCOW MILLER INDY CITY SEMINAR

Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. is pleased to present a half day seminar covering both Indiana and Michigan law on  May 21, 2014,  at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, located at 350 W. Maryland Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225 (317) 822-3500.  Comprehensive written materials will be distributed to all seminar attendees.

AGENDA

8:30 – 8:55 Continental Breakfast – Registration

 

8:55 – 9:00 Welcome and Introductions

David N. Campos

 

9:00 – 10:00 Michigan First-Party Automobile No-Fault (PIP) Update

Speaker: David N. Campos

 

10:00 – 10:30 Indiana First-Party Law Update

Speaker: Gregory M. Bokota

 

10:30 -10:45 Break

 

10:45 – 11:15 Tips on Handling Difficult Opposing Counsel

Speaker: John W. Whitman

 

11:15 – 11:45 Michigan Third-Party Automobile Negligence Update

Speaker: Adam K. Gordon

 

11:45 – 12:15 Indiana Third-Party Law Update

Speaker: Gregory M. Bokota

 

12:15 – 12:30 Question and Answer Session

If you are able to attend this complimentary event, please register via e-mail to Eileen Carty at:  ecarty@garanlucow.com

THERE WILL BE 2 DRAWINGS TO WIN FOUR TICKETS EACH

TO THE 2014 INDY 500!!!!

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Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. is pleased to announce, the donation of a portion of the receipts from the sale of the Michigan Automobile No-Fault Manual to The Pink Fund.

Below is a picture of Daniel Saylor, Editor, and  Eileen Carty, Marketing Coordinator, of Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. presenting the check to Molly MacDonald, Founder, President, SurThrivor of The Pink Fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on the Pink Fund please see below.