Court decides thorny residency dispute
In GEICO v. Marshall and Western Reserve Mutual, the Court of Appeals upheld the determination that an over-the-road trucker's legal domicile was in Ohio, rather than with his girlfriend in Michigan. The ultimate decision on residency determines which of two insurance carriers was obligated to pay his PIP benefits, and whether the benefit exposure was limited to $500,000.00 [the situation where a non-Michigan resident is injured in Michigan but insured outside the state].
Although Marshall's actions over the prior year were suggestive of an intent to create a household with his girlfriend in her mother's Lincoln Park, Michigan home, these actions were out-weighed by the fact that every official action he took would confirm an Ohio legal address. That is, he was registered to vote at his parents' home in Ohio, paid taxes in Ohio, registered his vehicles there, and renewed his driver license in Ohio. He used that address for all "official" and business purposes. Further, he had stated that his willingness to stay in Lincoln Park was dependent on his relationship with his girlfriend and had returned to stay with his folks in Ohio on more than one occasion, apparently when the relationship hit rocky episodes.
The Court drew a distinction between this case and the landmark Williams case where a young man was hurt after declaring his intent to move home from Nevada to live with his folks, made appropriate arrangements to fulfill that intent, and was injured in a collision while driving home.