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Macomb County Circuit Court Grants Declaratory Judgment Finding No Automobile Liability Coverage In Case Handled By Michael F. Schmidt

MIC General Insurance Company v Michael Baumeister, Gary Rivard, Emilia Braden and Enterprise Leasing Company of Detroit, Macomb County Circuit Court, we filed a declaratory action on behalf of MIC General Insurance Company to obtain a ruling that MIC had no duty to defend or provide coverage to Gary Rivard, MIC’s insured’s grandson, for his use of a motor vehicle rented by his grandmother. The basis of the argument was that both the insured and Rivard testified that Rivard took the vehicle’s keys without permission, thus there was no permissive use and Rivard could not be an insured as required by the policy definition as a person using an insured vehicle with permission. We further argued that since Rivard’s license had been suspended for a number of years before the accident, he could not have a reasonable belief that he could use the vehicle and thus coverage was excluded by the exclusion for using a vehicle without a reasonable belief that the insured was entitled to do so. The trial court granted the motion in a twelve-page written opinion and rejected the underlying plaintiff Baumeister’s arguments that there was an issue of fact as to permissive use and that as an innocent third party the coverage defenses would not apply to him.