Insurer cannot use delay in opening Defendant's estate to support statute of limitations dismissal
Paul Marsack was injured in a collision allegedly caused by Laura Gabriel. Just as he filed suit against her, however, Gabriel died from unrelated causes. No one in Gabriel's Estate needed to open a Probate Estate for Gabriel, so Marsack's attorneys were forced to re-style their Complaint as one against Gabriel's Estate, and open the Estate, themselves. They could not enlist the cooperation of the Defendant's family or the public administrator until the local Probate Court ordered the public administrator to serve as the Personal Representative of the Defendant's Estate. When she did act in that capacity, she immediately used the delay encountered in opening the Defense Estate to argue that the case should be dismissed for violating the applicable statute of limitations. The Trial Court in Sanilac County rejected her argument and she appealed. The Court of Appeals issued a brief opinion this week, refusing to allow the Defendant to raise a delay occasioned by her own passive resistance to justify a statute of limitations defense.