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Homeowners insurance not required to compensate boy for loss of arm in garage "business"

Frederick Holstine is an Iosco County truck driver who processed meat as a part-time activity in his garage.  One of his kid's friends was visiting and lost an arm, to the elbow, when he reached to grab a towel that fell into a meat mixer.  The boy's parent, Timothy Bialek,  made a claim for medical payment and compensation for his son and Holstine's homeowner's insurance filed a declaratory judgment action against Holstine and Bialek, seeking a judge's ruling that it owed no coverage.

Farm Bureau argued that its policy excluded coverage for any structure used part- or full-time for a business pursuit and that it also excluded coverage for any part- of full-time business activities.  It also pointed out that Holstine had priced commercial coverage for his meat processing activities and rejected the coverage because the premium was too expensive.  Bialek and Holstine countered that when the boy instinctively reached to grab the falling towel, he wasn't engaged in any activity related to Holstine's business.

The Court made quick work of the argument and refused to compensate the Bialek boy or provide coverage to Holstine.  It pointed out that even though meat processing wasn't Holstine's primary occupation, Bialek's injury was still caused by a part-time business activity for which Holstine had not purchased insurance coverage.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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