Mike Guss Obtains Summary Disposition For Titan Insurance Company In First-Party No-Fault Suit Seeking Benefits For An “Innocent Third-Party”; Rita Foster, Et. Al. -V- Titan Insurance Company, Et. Al., Genesee County Circuit Court
In October 2015, Plaintiff, Rita Foster, brought suit against Titan Insurance Company and the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility, stemming from an automobile collision that occurred on September 5, 2014. Plaintiff sought PIP coverage under an insurance policy that was written issued to Vincent Millender. However, through discovery, it was established that the vehicle was actually owned by Erica Nicole Jett, was garaged at Ms. Jett’s home, and would only be driven by Ms. Jett, all contrary to the application. Accordingly, we filed a Motion for Summary Disposition, arguing that the Court must hold the matter in abeyance pending the outcome of the Court of Appeals decision in Bazzi v. Sentinel Ins. Co. (Court of Appeals Docket No. 320518), a case that was directly on point and awaiting decision in the Court of Appeal. The trial court agreed with us, held the matter in abeyance pending the outcome of Bazzi, and stated that he would reconsider Titan’s dispositive Motion following the Bazzi holding. On June 14th, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its Opinion in Bazzi, reversing the so-called “innocent third-party” rule as applied to insurance policies that are procured through a misrepresentation in the application. As such, we re-noticed the motion and argued that pursuant to the Bazzi holding, Titan is entitled to declare the policy void ab initio and rescinded, including denying the payment of benefits to any innocent third-parties, including the plaintiff. Following oral argument on the re-noticed hearing, the trial court agreed and dismissed Titan from the case.