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The court held that because established Michigan law does not recognize the purported "cousins by marriage" relationship between the plaintiff and the insured, the trial court erred in holding that Plaintiff was entitled to PIP benefits.

Thus, it reversed and remanded for entry of an order granting summary disposition in favor of defendant. The case arose out of plaintiff's claim for PIP benefits-under a no-fault policy issued by defendant to plaintiff's purported "relative," Gordon-for injuries that plaintiff suffered as a pedestrian during a hit-and-run car accident. In this case, the trial court's decision was based not only on its interpretation of MCL 500.3114(1), but also on its determination that Gordon qualified as a "family member" under the insurance policy. Thus, its analysis required two separate, but related, inquiries: (1) whether plaintiff qualified as a "relative" of Gordon for purposes of MCL 500.3114(1), and (2) if the policy provided broader coverage than that required under MCL 500.3114(1), whether plaintiff qualified as a "family member" as that term is used in the policy. The court held that plaintiff neither qualified as a "relative" under MCL 500.3114(1) nor as a "family member" under the insurance policy. She sought PIP benefits from defendant on the theory that she qualified as Gordon's relative by marriage. However, her "purported relationship with Gordon, through the marriage of her paternal aunt to Gordon's paternal uncle, does not fall within the common understanding of relative by affinity under Michigan law." Rather, their relationship was akin to the example in Bliss. Thus, like the court in Bliss, the court found that "two women, who are completely unrelated by consanguinity, but who had other blood relatives marry each other, in this case their respective aunt and uncle, do not share a relationship of 'cousins by affinity' that satisfies the definition of 'relative' for purposes of MCL 500.3114(1)." 

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around...

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Originally posted on 10/20/2017 If you are charged with a crime, you could face severe penalties that could include financial fines, public service, or even jail time. For those in the Michigan area, hiring an attorney experienced in...

PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

Originally posted on 07/19/2017 While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most inalienable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. Many people receive their understanding of this...

Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017 Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track...

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

Originally posted on 01/20/2017 When potential clients ask us questions about criminal defense representation (particularly for drunk driving offenses) one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this...

FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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