Court refuses to allow insurer's friviolous effort to apply new law to void coverage
In 2008, the Michigan legislature adopted a bill that added specific language to the No Fault Act excluding all off-road vehicles from Personal Injury Protection coverage. Beverly Duffy was paralyzed in 2007 under circumstances that appeared to provide PIP coverage, and she applied for benefits to the Grange Insurance Company, which insured the ORV. Grange denied Duffy's claim and argued that the 2008 No Fault amendment language should be applied to nullify her rights.
The Court unanimously rejected this frivolous argument. It noted that the change in statutory language was not remedial or merely a clerical correction but rather was a substantive change in the law intended to anticipate an increase in ORV injuries resulting from changes in laws regulating their operation on highways. Further, applying the law as requested by the insurer would deny Duffy statutory rights that had already been established by the 2007 language of the act, as it read when she was injured: an amendatory act can never deprive a party of rights already established when the amendment is enacted.