Court rejects insurer's defense to payment of PIP benefits for serviceman
Galen McDevitt was one of those young men who struggled leaving the nest. After living for a time with each of his divorced parents and an uncle, McDevitt joined the military pursuant to an ultimatum from his mother. While "home" on leave from boot camp for a week, McDevitt caused a motor vehicle collision that killed him and injured two others. When the victims made a claim against McDevitt's Estate and his mother, her insurer argued that it did not owe coverage because McDevitt was not a "resident" of his mother's household while on leave.
After hearing the facts, the trial judge pointed out that McDevitt lived with his mother for several months before leaving for the service, that he left his belongings at her home, that he continued to receive mail there, that his folks contributed to some of his expenses, and that both he and his folks considered their home to be his home. The Court of Appeals approved this result, pointing to longstanding precedent confirming the factors to be considered in determining an insured's "domicile." The Court pointed out that in addition to the factors itemized by the trial judge, McDermitt still had a bedroom at the LIsowski household. His failure to change his drivers license to Michigan after moving from Kansas did not out-weigh the above circumstantial evidence.