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The court held that the trial court did not err by granting the defendant-insurer's motion for summary disposition in the plaintiff's action seeking uninsured motorist benefits.

Plaintiff sued defendant for injuries he sustained when he was struck by an automobile as he was removing groceries from the trunk of another automobile. The trial court ruled for defendant, finding that because plaintiff "was not 'occupying' the insured vehicle, he was not entitled to UM benefits." On appeal, the court rejected his argument that he was entitled to UM benefits because he was "struck by an uninsured motorist while 'in, getting into or getting out of' the trunk of the insured vehicle." It found he was "not 'occupying' the vehicle so as to be entitled to UM benefits." Although the policy did not "define 'in,' employing the 'commonly used meaning' of that term," plaintiff "was not 'in' the trunk." The court also noted that although it "would not go so far as to require . . . that a person's whole body be within the passenger compartment of the vehicle, the circumstances in this case [we]re insufficient as a matter of law to find that [plaintiff] was 'in' the" vehicle at the time it was struck by the uninsured vehicle. Finally, the court held that "the use of the word 'in' [wa]s not ambiguous or in dispute." Affirmed. 

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

REAL ESTATE 89: RM had not included any language in the deed providing that the property was a joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship, the property instead became a tenancy in common.

RM drafted the deed without seeking counsel and mistakenly believed that, if either she or FK died, the property would fully pass to the surviving tenant. FK’s will provided that if his wife predeceased him—which she did—the personal representative of his estate should sell any residual property that he owned and divide the cash proceeds equally among his surviving children.

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.

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