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One Court of Justice Blog

Sep 2017
Sep 2017
September 25, 2017

MSC to consider whether playing on a beach is "outdoor recreational use" of land

In Otto v. Inn at Watervale, Inc., No. 155380, the Michigan Supreme Court has granted the Inn's application for leave to appeal the question of whether a child's play on the beach constituted “other outdoor recreational use” of the Inn's land under the Recreational Land Use Act, MCL 324.73301(1). 

Sep 2017
September 13, 2017

COA: A vehicle only became uninsured upon a court's ruling of no coverage

In Wagner v. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., No 332400, the Court of Appeals addressed the applicability of uninsured motorist coverage.  A party injured in a rear-end automobile accident brought a claim against the other driver.  That other driver's insurer, Farm Bureau, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that there was no coverage and a court eventually awarded summary judgment.  The injured party sought first-party uninsured motorist coverage from her own insurer, which also happened to be Farm Bureau.  Farm Bureau denied the claim on the grounds that the policy required a claim be filed within three years of the accident, and the injured party did not file her claim within that time.  The trial court and Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the policy was ambiguous given its contradictory language requiring a claim to be brought within three years, but also requiring proof of the uninsured status of the other involved vehicle.  Here, as coverage for the other vehicle was contested, there was no evidence establishing that the vehicle was uninsured until the judgment was entered in the declaratory judgment action - which was entered more than three years after the accident.  Thus the provision requiring the uninsured motorist claim be brought within three years was ambiguous, and the insurer was not entitled to summary disposition.   

Aug 2017
August 23, 2017

COA: Unjust Enrichment claim is not barred by governmental tort immunity

The case of Genesee Cnty. Drain Comm'r v. Genesee County, No. 331023 has reached the Court of Appeals for the second time.  Our description of the facts of the case and the Court's initial holding regarding governmental immunity can be found here.  This time, the case returns to the Court on another discreet question regarding the scope of governmental immunity:  is a claim for unjust enrichment a claim alleging tort liability that is barred by the GTLA?  The Court concluded that it was not a tort claim, and thus not barred.  Specifically, the Court reasoned that a claim for unjust enrichment was based on an equitable doctrine to impose contract liability, and not tort liability.  

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