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158302 - Meemic Ins. Co. v Louise M. Fortson

Meemic Insurance Company,


James Gross





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Berrien – Donahue, J.)


Louise M. Fortson and Richard A. Fortson, Individually and as Conservator for Justin Fortson,


Robert Chasnis





Justin Fortson was seriously injured when he fell off the hood of a vehicle.  He lived with his parents, who were named insureds under a policy issued by plaintiff-insurer.  When it was discovered that the parents had reported providing attendant care on dates when Justin was incarcerated or residing elsewhere, plaintiff stopped providing benefits and filed this lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud.  The trial court granted summary disposition to plaintiff under a provision that voided the policy if an insured person committed fraud related to the policy or any claim.  In a published split opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings.  First, the majority held that there was fraud but that Bazzi v Sentinel Ins Co, 502 Mich 390 (2018), was not dispositive because that case addressed the innocent third-party rule in the context of fraud in the procurement of an insurance policy.  Second, the majority held that the policy’s fraud provision was invalid as applied to Justin because it conflicted with his statutory right under MCL 500.3114(1) to receive benefits as a relative domiciled in the same home.  And, third, the majority held that the fraud provision did not apply because the policy was canceled or not renewed after the accident and the parent-caregivers who committed the fraud were no longer named insureds at the time of the fraud.  The dissent disagreed with the majority on each of its three holdings.  The Supreme Court has granted defendants’ application for leave to appeal.​