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140401 - Atkins v SMART

Vivian Atkins,
Steven W. Reifman
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals
(Wayne – MacDonald, K.)
Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, d/b/a SMART,
Carson J. Tucker


​Vivian Atkins was injured when the SMART bus she was riding on collided with another SMART bus. Within two weeks, Atkins contacted ASU Group, SMART’s auto no-fault claims representative. ASU forwarded Atkins a no-fault claim form, which she completed and returned to ASU; this form included information about Atkins’ injuries and identified her medical providers. ASU also received an attending physician’s report stating that Atkins was on a medical leave of absence and that her mother and daughter were providing some household services for her.

More than 60 days after the accident, Atkins sued SMART alleging, among other things, that SMART’s negligence caused her injuries. But SMART moved to dismiss the negligence portion of Atkins’ lawsuit, arguing that she had not served written notice of that tort claim on SMART within 60 days of the accident, as required by MCL 124.419. That statute provides in part that “[W]ritten notice of any claim [against a common carrier] based upon injury to persons or property shall be served upon the [transportation] authority no later than 60 days from the occurrence through which such injury is sustained….” The trial court granted SMART’s motion and dismissed Atkins’ negligence claim, but on appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished per curiam opinion. Atkins’ written no-fault claim, in conjunction with the other information in SMART’s possession regarding the accident, Atkins’ injuries, and her medical treatment, was sufficient notice under MCL 124.419, the Court of Appeals said. SMART appeals.