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A Better Partnership

September 2017

Sep 2017
Sep 2017
September 25, 2017

Is a wife who did not physically live with her husband a surviving spouse? The MSC will decide.

In In re Estate of Erwin, No. 153980 and No. 153981, the Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal the questions of (1) whether the “willfully absent” provision in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code ("EPIC") is defined exclusively by physical separation, or whether it includes consideration of the emotional bonds and connections between spouses; and (2) whether EPIC requires proof that a spouse intends to abandon his or her marital rights. 

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.   

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