Court reverses trial judge; recognizes genuine issue of material fact regarding uninsured vehicle ownership
Quiltrell Hill was hurt in a car accident. He sued the at-fault driver, Janae Burch, but Burch's insurer sought summary disposition of his claim, arguing that he was operating an "owned," uninsured vehicle and therefore ineligible for compensation. Hill acknowledged that the vehicle was uninsured, but pointed out that it was not his vehicle and that he was not in possession of the car for 30 days or the de facto owner of the car. He noted that he had simply borrowed the keys and the car from his brother; something he had done on a couple of occasions, previously.
The trial judge ruled that since he had driven the car "several times before," he was deemed an owner under the Michigan statute that treats anyone "having the use [of a car], under a lease or otherwise, for a period that is greater than 30 days" as an "owner." The Court of Appeals reversed and sent the case back for further factual development. It pointed out that the statute is not satisfied by occasional permissive use that was not consistent with actual possession or ownership.