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Citizens Insurance loses attempt to re-litigate 1987 PIP decision

Citizens Insurance Company sued National Union Fire Insurance, arguing that NU should be responsible for PIP benefits payable to Ruth Russell.  Russell's benefits were originally deemed payable by American Motors Corporation in a 1987 Consent Judgment.  American Motors was merged with Chrysler, and when Chrysler went bankrupt, her benefit obligation was re-assigned to Citizens by the Assigned Claims plan.  Chrysler argued, in essence, that American Motors never should have entered the 1987 consent judgment, and that it should be free to litigate which insurer was first priority under the no fault act.

The trial judge ruled that Citizens stood in privity with Chrysler and American Motors, as their successor, and that since AMC had consented to the pertinent judgment, Citizens was bound by it.  The Court of Appeals unanimously agreed and upheld the dismissal of Citizens' claim.

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