Supreme Court Declines to Address Court of Appeals’ Ruling Migrant Farm Worker Resided in Michigan for Purposes of No-Fault Insurance Coverage

The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to review an appeal of the Court of Appeals opinion in Lorenzo Tienda v. Integon National Insurance, which held that a migrant farm worker who maintained no permanent residency in any state resided in Michigan for purposes of the No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act’s provisions addressing priority among automobile insurers for payment of personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits.

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on whether to grant the application or take other steps to address the Court of Appeals opinion.  It issued the following denial order on May 16, 2014:  Lorenzo Tienda v. Integon Supreme Court Order.

Justice McCormack concurred, but urged the Legislature to take up the issue of the definition and application of residency under the No-Fault Act, stating:

Although I agree with the Court of Appeals that the insured was not an out-of-state resident at the time of the accident, I believe that the Legislature might wish to review the language of MCL 500.3163 because the statute would seem to place liability on Michigan’s Assigned Claims Facility even when an out-of-state insurance company has collected monthly premiums for an out-of-state insurance policy.

The Court of Appeals ruled:

“The answer to the question of which insurer, Integon or Titan, is responsible for personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits arising out of a Michigan automobile accident depends on where the insured…resided at the time of the accident. Because of its peculiar facts, this case raises a question of first impression because Lorenzo, an itinerant agricultural worker, did not have a “permanent” residence in any state, but lived, worked, and resided in three different states where he picked fruit on a seasonal basis. At the time of the accident, Lorenzo lived and worked in Michigan, had all his possessions with him in Michigan, and had no other residence or place he looked to or could be regarded as his home. Accordingly, for purposes of the no-fault act, Lorenzo was a resident of Michigan, and neither his out-of-state policy with Integon nor Integon’s choice to also do business in Michigan makes Integon liable for plaintiffs’ no-fault benefits. Instead, and contrary to the trial court’s ruling, Titan is the insurer responsible for the payment of plaintiffs’ PIP benefits as the carrier assigned by the Assigned Claims Facility.”

Read my prior post explaining the facts of this case and the Court of Appeals ruling here:

Court of Appeals Rules Migrant Farm Worker Resides In Michigan for Purposes of Insurance Coverage Under Michigan’s No-Fault Act

Feel free to call Carson J. Tucker, Chair of the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones, LLP at (248) 283-0763 if you have any questions about any of these cases.  Mr. Tucker regularly participates in cases before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals on issues touching many subject-matter areas of civil litigation, including insurance coverage disputes such as that at issue in the instant case.

Throughout its storied history, Lacey & Jones has distinguished itself from other law firms by maintaining a robust Appeals and Legal Research Group.  Effective appellate representation demands different skills than those required by litigation attorneys.  Our appellate attorneys are adept at analyzing the intricacies of each case from an objective and critical perspective.  From reviewing and preparing the lower court record, identifying appealable errors, and developing a strategy to raise issues that will be addressed by appellate courts, our seasoned appellate team is capable of handling the most complex appeals from the application stage to oral advocacy before the highest courts.  Our research abilities and knowledge of current issues in nearly all major subject-matter areas of the law provide our clients with efficient and immediate assistance with complex and high-exposure cases.   We are experienced at navigating through the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court to shepherd the appeal in the most expeditious fashion possible so that it can be reviewed and quickly ruled upon.  During the last three decades alone, the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones has been responsible for over 150 published decisions in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, including seminal decisions in workers’ compensation, governmental immunity, employment and labor law, civil rights law and insurance coverage.  Because of its specialized knowledge and focus on appellate law and its recognized expertise, the Appeals and Legal Research Group at Lacey & Jones has been asked to participate as amicus curiae writing briefs for the Supreme Court or as special counsel to the Michigan Attorney General and other governmental entities in some of the most significant cases in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.   Below are some of the recent significant cases in which Lacey & Jones, LLP’s Appeals and Legal Research Group has participated

  • Stevens v. General Motors (Court of Appeals Docket No. 317845) (Carson J. Tucker, Prosecuting appeal granted on reconsideration)
  • Arbuckle v. General Motors (Court of Appeals Docket No. 310611) (Carson J. Tucker, Defending appeal granted by Court of Appeals)
  • Thommen v. Delta Tube and Fabricating Corp. (Court of Appeals Docket No. 318354) (Carson J. Tucker, Defending appeal granted by Court of Appeals)
  • Estate of Truett v. Wayne County (Court of Appeals Docket No. 313638 (May 6, 2014) (Carson J. Tucker, defending appeal for Wayne County) (Court of Appeals affirmed trial court’s dismissal of case against Wayne County)
  • Yono v. MDOT, ___ Mich. App. ___ (201_), amicus curiae brief to be filed after remand for Michigan Municipal League, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
  • Omian v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 495 Mich. 859 (2013), application filed by Carson J. Tucker, Supreme Court remand to Court of Appeals on leave granted
  • Ghanam v. John Does, 303 Mich. App. 522 (2013), application to appeal filed in Supreme Court by Carson J. Tucker
  • State Farm v. MMRMA, ___ Mich App ___ (2013), amicus curiae for Oakland County in support of MMRMA application, by Carson J. Tucker
  • Hannay v MDOT, ___ Mich ___ 201_), application granted, amicus curiae filed for Michigan Townships Association, Macomb County, Oakland County and Wayne County, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
  • Yono v. MDOT, ___ Mich ___ (201_), oral argument on application granted, amicus curiae for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne County filed by Carson J. Tucker in support of the state’s application
  • Huddleston v. Trinity Health, et al., 495 Mich. 976 (2014), oral argument on application granted, amicus curiae with Lawrence Garcia, Esq., for MDTC
  • Ashley, LLC v Pittsfield Twp., 494 Mich 875 (2013), application granted, for Pittsfield Township by Carson J. Tucker (resolved by settlement)
  • Bailey v. Schaaf, ___ Mich ___ (2013), amicus curiae for MDTC by Carson J. Tucker
  • Atkins v. SMART, 492 Mich 707 (2012), oral argument on application, Court of Appeals case reversed by opinion, Carson J. Tucker
  • Hagerty v Manistee, 493 Mich 933 (2013), amicus curiae for Michigan Municipal League, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
  • McMurtrie v Eaton Corp, 490 Mich 976 (2011)
  • Findley v DaimlerChrysler Corp., 490 Mich 928 (2011)
  • Brewer v. AD.Transport Express, Inc, 486 Mich 50 (2010)
  • Stokes v Chrysler, 481 Mich 266 (2008)
  • Brackett v Focus Hope, Inc, 482 Mich 269 (2008)
  • Rakestraw v Gen Dynamics, 469 Mich 220 (2003)

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