Michigan Supreme Court Overrules Family Joyriding Exception and Permissive User Exception to MCL 500.3113(a) of the No-Fault Act

I wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Insurance Institute of Michigan in this case urging the Court to overrule the judicially created “family joyriding exception”.  Yesterday, the Court issued an opinion which did precisely that, getting rid of the judicial doctrine that had been used to circumvent the plain language of MCL 500.3113(a), which bars a person from receiving no-fault (personal insurance protection) benefits while using a vehicle he or she had taken unlawfully unless there was a reasonable belief to an entitlement to take and use the vehicle.

The Court consolidated this case with another case.  The Court concludes that an unlawful taking can occur without authority of the owner, even if the vehicle is taken by a family member (the “family joyriding exception”) (Progressive v. DeYoung); or by someone who gained permission from an intermediary who, themselves, had authority to use the vehicle (the “chain of permissive use” theory). (Spectrum v. Farm Bureau).

Thus, the Court overruled years of judicial precedent that had read MCL 500.3113(a) out of the No-Fault Act in circumstances where an auto accident occurred as the result of a joyriding family member’s unauthorized use of a vehicle or a person unauthorized to operate a vehicle but who has permission from an intermediary with permission to use the vehicle.

The opinion and my amicus brief are attached.

Spectrum v. Farm Bureau and Progressive v. DeYoung


About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
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