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142615 - Joseph v ACIA

Doreen Joseph,
Thomas A. Biscup
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Macomb – Caretti, R.)
James G. Gross


​Doreen Joseph became a quadriplegic, and suffered traumatic brain injury, as a result of a 1977 auto accident; at the time, she was 17 years old. Over the years, Auto Club Insurance Association paid over $4 million to various care providers for Joseph’s care and rehabilitation, under her parents’ no-fault auto insurance policy. In February 2009, Joseph sued ACIA to compel the insurer to also pay for care provided by her mother, Marilyn Joseph. ACIA filed a motion for partial summary disposition, contending that it was not responsible for paying for care Marilyn Joseph provided. Among other matters, ACIA argued that, under the no-fault act’s one-year-back provision, MCL 500.3145(1), Joseph was barred from recovering benefits incurred before February 27, 2008, one year before Joseph filed her lawsuit. MCL 500.3145(1) states that a “claimant may not recover benefits for any portion of the loss incurred more than one year before the date on which the action was commenced.” Joseph argued, in response, that the trial court should rely on the tolling provision of MCL 600.5851(1), which states that “if the person first entitled to make an entry or bring an action under this act is under 18 years of age or insane at the time the claim accrues, the person or those claiming under the person shall have 1 year after the disability is removed through death or otherwise, to . . . bring the action . . . .” The trial court agreed with Joseph and denied ACIA’s motion for partial summary disposition. Relying on University of Michigan Regents v Titan Insurance Co, 487 Mich 289 (2010), the trial court held that MCL 600.5851(1) preserves claims by minors and insane persons for PIP benefits that otherwise would be barred by the one-year-back rule. The trial court further held that there was a question of fact as to whether Joseph is “insane” for purposes of MCL 600.5851(1). ACIA appeals.