Court rules in no fault PIP dispute over young man's domicile
State Farm sued the Auto Club and the self-insured City of Warren after it was assigned to pay medical expenses incurred by Shane Cramer. Shane was catastrophically injured on his bicycle when he was struck by a City Police vehicle. When the Auto Club and the City both refused to pay more than $500,000.00 in PIP expenses, the Assigned Claims plan directed State Farm to pay the benefits and seek reimbursement from the responsible carrier.
Cramer had moved out of his father's home in 1998, and lived with his girlfriend's family for the next eight years. He kept no property at home; had no bedroom there; received virtually no support from his father, and "slept over" with his own family only infrequently--on the couch. Because the girlfriend's "peripatetic" group moved frequently, Shane kept his father's address on his driver license and as his mailing address. The Auto Club--his father's insurer--deemed him a resident of the girlfriend's family's home. The City--responsible to pay if Shane didn't live in a home with an insured family member, by virtue of insuring the only motor vehicle involved in the collision--argued that he remained a resident of his father's house by virtue of his use of the mailing address.
The Court concluded that under these circumstances, Shane's domicile was with his girlfriend--not his father.