The Michigan Supreme Court issued a grant order in a case in which it will address whether an immediate family member who knows that he or she has been forbidden to drive a vehicle may nevertheless be a permissive user of the vehicle eligible for personal insurance protection (“PIP”) benefits under MCL 500.3113(a), when, contrary to the owner’s prohibition, an intermediate permissive user grants the PIP claimant permission to operate the accident vehicle. Read the Court’s Order here: Spectrum Health Hospitals v. Farm Bureau Mutual Ins Co of Michigan et al.
This is somewhat related to the case that was the subject of my previous post (Progressive v. DeYoung et al.) in that it relates to judicial interpretations or “modifications” of the explicit Legislative prohibition in MCL 500.3113(a) that non-permitted users should not be able to recover PIP benefits. However, the language of the statute itself gives rise to the issue, present in this case, of whether and to what extent a person took the vehicle unlawfully and / or whether that person nonetheless reasonably believes that he or she is entitled to take and use the vehicle.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s award to the plaintiff / claimant, even though he was intoxicated and unlicensed and was prohibited from driving the vehicle. The claimant’s father gave the claimant’s girlfriend permission to drive the vehicle, and then she allowed the claimant to drive the vehicle. The Court of Appeals opinion is attached here: Spectrum Health Hosp v. Farm Burea (COA Opinion)