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Volume XXVI, No. 21, October 8, 2014      

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

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 

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WHERE INSURER HAS NOT BEEN NOTIFIED OF PLAINTIFF’S INJURIES WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE ACCIDENT, YET PAYS PARTIAL NO-FAULT BENEFITS ONCE NOTICE HAS BEEN GIVEN, STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS MAY NEVERTHELESS BE INVOKED TO BAR PLAINTIFF’S CAUSE OF ACTION UNDER MCL § 3145 (1)

By

FRANCES MURPHY

The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that, under MCL § 500.3145(1), the second exception to the one-year statute of limitations requiring a plaintiff to bring an action for PIP benefits within one year of the accident – “unless the insurer has previously made a payment of personal protection insurance benefits for the injury” – means that the insurer must have paid for PIP benefits within one year of the accident to preserve plaintiff’s cause of action.

In Jesperson v. Auto Club Ins, — NW2d — (2014), plaintiff alleged he suffered injuries when a Toyota Camry driven by a Jet’s pizza delivery driver struck plaintiff’s motorcycle while stopped at an intersection, causing plaintiff’s motorcycle to fall to plaintiff’s left side.  The plaintiff reported no injuries and received no medical treatment at the scene, and drove his motorcycle to work.  More than one year after the accident, plaintiff provided Auto Club with notice that he had been injured, and approximately two months later, Auto Club paid plaintiff more than $20,000 in medical expenses to treat injuries he alleged arose out of the accident.  Plaintiff later instituted an action for no-fault benefits, claiming that Auto Club violated the No-Fault Act by refusing to pay plaintiff benefits.  In its Answer and Affirmative Defenses, Auto Club asserted the one-year-back rule under MCL § 500.3145(1), but did not specifically assert the statute of limitations defense under the same provision.

On appeal, the Michigan Court of Appeals addressed two issues: (1) whether “previously” under MCL § 500.3145(1) means that the insurer’s payment must be made within one year of the accident to provide an exception to the statute of limitations; and (2) whether defendant’s failure to specifically plead the statute of limitations defense under MCL § 500.3145(1) waived the defense.

Plaintiff argued on appeal that where an insurer has “previously” paid benefits, regardless when those benefits were paid, the exception to the one-year statute of limitations applies, allowing plaintiff to bring a cause of action even though the insurer’s payment was made more than one year after the accident.  The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, and in deciding this issue of first impression, interpreted the term “previously” as meaning “coming or occurring before something else.”  That “something else,” the Court explained, is the one-year expiration following the accident. Accordingly, the Court held that MCL § 500.3145(1) allows a plaintiff to file suit more than one year after the accident only if the insurer has either received notice of the injury within one year of the accident or made a payment of PIP benefits within one year of the accident.  Therefore, the Court held, the trial court properly dismissed plaintiff’s cause of action, as plaintiff failed to institute suit or notify defendant of his injuries within one year of the accident, and defendant’s payment of PIP benefits occurred more than one year after the accident.

As to the affirmative defenses issue, the Court held that because the trial court could have freely granted leave to defendant to allow it to amend its Affirmative Defenses to add the statute of limitations, the defense was not waived.  As the holding on the first issue would have been the same regardless whether leave were granted, and for purposes of judicial efficiency, the Court chose not to remand the case to allow the trial court to provide leave to amend.

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REGISTER NOW! BUCKEYE SEMINAR

October 23, 2014

GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.      CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST / REGISTRATION

9:00 – 9:05 a.m.      WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

Speaker:                    SUSAN M. WILLIAMS, ESQ.

9:05 – 9:50 a.m.       2014 NO-FAULT LAW UPDATES

Speaker:                   SAMANTHA E. DRAUGELIS, ESQ.

9:50 – 10:35 a.m.    TIPS & STRATEGIES IN DEFENDING PROVIDER SUITS:

                                 CLAIMS THROUGH TRIAL

Speaker:                  MARK L. NAWROCKI, ESQ.

10:35 – 11:05 a.m.  HOME MODIFICATION & TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENTS:

                                MCCA REQUIREMENTS POST ADMIRE

Speaker:                 SUSAN M. WILLIAMS, ESQ.

Speaker:                 TARA L. VELTING, ESQ.

11:05 – 12:00 p.m.  DEPOSITIONS OF CLAIM STAFF:

                                 WHY WOULD YOU? HOW COULD YOU?

 Speaker:                 JOHN W. WHITMAN, ESQ.

 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.  QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION

                                  RETURN EVALUATION FORMS

Comprehensive written materials will be distributed to all program attendees.

To register: contact Eileen Carty: ecarty@garanlucow.com

 

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Garan Lucow Miller is hosting a U of M Tailgate

U of M v Indiana

 

When:  Saturday, November 1, 2014
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Tailgate starts: 12:00 pm (Noon)

Where:      Michigan Stadium
1201 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Tailgate Location:      Hospitality Area C
Enter off of West Stadium Blvd -     Gate 1

Tailgate does NOT include tickets to the game

AT THE TAILGATE THERE WILL BE A RAFFLE FOR 2 SETS (2 TICKETS EACH) FOR THE UPCOMING

U OF M v MARYLAND GAME ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014

Please RSVP to Eileen Carty at ecarty@garanlucow.com

Hope you can join us!

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