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158141 - Kaitlin Hahn v Geico Indemnity Company

Kaitlin Hahn,

 

Donald Fulkerson

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Oakland – Warren, M.)

 

Geico Indemnity Company,

 

Daniel Saylor

 

Defendant-Appellant.

 

Summary

In this auto insurance case, plaintiff was a passenger in a truck driven by her husband, Zachary Waller, in Michigan, when Waller fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a ditch. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries. At the time of the accident in 2015, Waller was a Michigan resident and active-duty Marine, who had obtained a North Carolina auto insurance policy from defendant Geico Indemnity Company (GEICO), while he was stationed in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune. Plaintiff filed a claim with GEICO, which paid benefits to plaintiff as a non-resident spouse under MCL 500.3163. Plaintiff later filed a complaint for declaratory relief seeking to determine whether GEICO, Automobile Club Insurance Association (ACIA), or both companies were liable to pay personal protection insurance benefits under Michigan’s No-Fault Act, MCL 500.3101 et seq. In the complaint, plaintiff asserted that she was domiciled with her father, who maintained a Michigan no-fault policy with ACIA. The parties agreed to limited discovery to address only the issue of Waller’s and plaintiff’s residency. Defendants each moved for summary disposition. GEICO argued that plaintiff and Waller both resided in Michigan at the time of the accident and, therefore, benefits were not allowable under MCL 500.3163. ACIA argued that the North Carolina policy was subject to reformation under MCL 500.3012. The trial court granted summary disposition to ACIA, but denied summary disposition to GEICO, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact whether GEICO knew or should have known that Waller was a Michigan resident and that the North Carolina policy was subject to reformation under MCL 500.3012. See Farm Bureau Ins Co v Allstate Ins Co, 233 Mich App 38 (1998). GEICO appealed by leave granted, arguing that the Farm Bureau decision was wrongly decided and should be overturned or, alternatively, that even if Farm Bureau were permitted to stand, there is no genuine issue of material fact. The Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion. The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on GEICO’s application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether MCL 500.3012 permits the reformation of a non-Michigan insurance contract to comply with the requirements of the Michigan no-fault act; and (2) whether Farm Bureau was correctly decided, and if not, whether it should be overruled.