Volume XXVII, No. 6, March 26, 2015       

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

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 





By Christopher Jennings  

In a recent unpublished opinion, Oostdyk and Spectrum Health Hospitals v Auto Owners Insurance Company, (COA No. 317221, 12/30/14), the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s  ruling that Plaintiff and Intervening Plaintiffs are entitled to costs as prevailing parties.

Plaintiff suffered an anoxic brain injury which is permanent and catastrophic. The injury occurred while riding a public school bus after he had an epileptic seizure. The dispute in the trial court revolved around causation and whether the injury was caused by the seizure or by the movement of the bus.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff. As part of post-verdict motion practice Defendant raised the argument that a determination regarding taxation of costs, interest and attorney fees was premature because the trial court had yet to determine the appropriate reductions regarding expenses paid by Medicaid and Golden Rule Insurance Company.  The hospitals then filed motions to intervene arguing that the payments were accepted in error from both Medicaid and the health insurance company. The trial court granted the interventions.

The Court of Appeals first discussed the issues that were briefed under MCL 500.3105 as it relates to operation of the bus and the injury arising out of that use. Defendant argued that the injury did not arise out of the use of the bus as a motor vehicle but rather out of its safe keeping function. Plaintiff presented evidence that the injury occurred on the bus, while it was moving and while he was being transported to school. The Court made it clear that moving motor vehicles are obviously engaged in a transportation function. McKenzie v Auto Club Ins Ass’n, 458 Mich 214, 221; 580 NW2d 424 (1998).  The Court of Appeals specifically noted that the video taken from the bus created a question of fact as to whether the movement of the bus caused Plaintiff to fall to the floor and ultimately to sustain an injury.

The Court of Appeals also found the Circuit Court’s decision to allow intervention of the hospitals was necessary because the hospitals had an interest in protecting their rights to receive the full amount of the charges because they accepted payment from Medicaid and Golden Rule under the mistaken belief that no-fault benefits were not available.  The Court ruled that since Plaintiff was entitled to PIP benefits, the hospitals were “entitled to charge a reasonable amount for the services rendered and were not limited to the contractual amounts or statutory amounts allowed for Medicaid benefits.”

Consistent with that decision, the Court of Appeals also ruled that the expenses incurred were not limited by those payments made by Medicaid and Golden Rule. Thus Defendant could not reduce the amount of medical expenses it had to pay under MCL 500.3107.





April 23, 2015 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 Thursday, April 23, 2015.  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 or call our office at 616-742-5500.  We look forward to seeing you at the gardens.

Please see Seminar Agenda below.




8:00 – 8:25 a.m.           Registration and Continental Breakfast.


8:25 – 8:30 a.m.           Welcome and Introduction.

David A. Couch, Moderator

8:30 – 8:50 a.m.           Recommendations for Successfully Navigating the Appellate Courts.

                                    Guest Speaker: Hon. Jane M. Beckering, Michigan Court of Appeals

8:50 – 10:15 a.m.         Michigan First Party No-Fault (PIP) Updates.

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

Speaker: Emily L. Partridge   


10:15 – 10:30 a.m.       Break


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

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

Speaker: David A. Couch


10:50 – 11:10 a.m.       Strategies and Tools for Handling Uncooperative Claimants.

Speaker: Diego J. Rojas


11:10 – 11:40 a.m.       File Handling Recommendations for Auto Claims Involving Probate Matters.

Speaker: Tara L. Velting


11:40 – 12:00 p.m.       The Transition from Judge to Mediator and the Ongoing Importance of ADR.

Speaker: Terry R. Thomas, Of Counsel with Garan Lucow Miller and Retired Newaygo County Circuit Court Judge


12:00 – 12:15 p.m.       Question and Answer Session With the Panel of Speakers. 



Save The Date! | Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Windy City Seminar


The 2015 Windy City Seminar will take place on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg.

Illinois Continuing Education Credits will be offered.