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139960 - Idalski v Schwedt

Kimberly Idalski,

 

Allen S. Falk

 

Plaintiff-Appellant,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Livingston – Latreille, S.)

 

David Allen Schwedt,

 

 

 

Defendant,

 

and

 

 

State Farm Mutual Insurance Company,

 

Devin R. Day

 

Defendant-Appellee.

 

Summary

​On July 25, 2005, Kimberly Idalski was injured in a two-vehicle accident with David Allen Schwedt. Idalski had a no-fault insurance policy with State Farm Mutual Insurance Company. Under the terms of the policy, State Farm became obligated to pay first-party no-fault personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits arising from Idalski’s injuries. The traffic crash report prepared by the Michigan State Police indicated that Schwedt was also insured by State Farm; if so, State Farm would be responsible for indemnifying Schwedt against third-party tort liability for noneconomic damages if Idalski sustained a serious impairment of body function. MCL 500.3135(1). But in fact, Schwedt was not insured.

Idalski sued Schwedt and State Farm on March 1, 2007, asserting a third-party negligence claim against Schwedt and a first-party claim for PIP benefits against State Farm. On September 25, 2007, after learning that Schwedt was uninsured, Idalski filed an amended complaint, adding a claim for uninsured motorist benefits against State Farm. In response, State Farm filed a motion for partial summary disposition, seeking dismissal of the uninsured motorist claim. State Farm argued that the amended complaint was not filed within two years after the accident as required by the terms of the insurance policy. The trial judge first granted State Farm’s motion for partial summary disposition, and dismissed the uninsured motorist claim. But later, the judge granted Idalski’s motion for reconsideration and reinstated the uninsured motorist claim.

State Farm filed an interlocutory application for leave to appeal. The Court of Appeals granted leave to appeal and, in an unpublished per curiam opinion, reversed the trial court. The Court of Appeals based its ruling on Rory v Continental Insurance Co, 473 Mich 457 (2005). In Rory, the Michigan Supreme Court held that an insurance contract provision that imposed a one-year limitations period on claims for uninsured motorist benefits did not violate public policy and would be enforced. Applying Rory to the facts of this case, the Court of Appeals held that the policy provisions requiring Idalski to present her uninsured motorist claim and file a lawsuit within two years after the accident were enforceable. Idalski’s contended that her uninsured motorist claim was timely because her amended complaint related back to the date her original complaint was filed. But the Court of Appeals rejected that argument, saying that the relation-back doctrine of Michigan Court Rule 2.118(D) could not be applied to nullify or modify contractual notice and limitations periods. Idalski appeals.