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One last gift to insurers by Justice Taylor: No fault late fees overturned

The Michigan no fault act provides for the payment of attorney fees where PIP benefits are substantiated by the injury victim but payment is "unreasonably" delayed.  In Moore v. Secura, the injury victim sued to recover $42,000 in late wage loss payments, which the jury ultimately awarded her.  The Trial Court then awarded her attorney fees and costs of $79,000.00, finding that the wage loss had been denied by Secura without adequate justification. 

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision, but the Supreme Court issued a hurried opinion on December 30, 2008, signed by the four-member "Engler" majority, as Justice Taylor had one foot out the door,  leaving the bench.  The Engler majority reversed the lower courts' decision and rejected the award of attorneys fees in its entirety.  The dissenting Justices would have upheld the award, noting that the attorney fee provision is an important element of the No Fault act's public policy intended to encourage insurers to make prompt payment of benefits without litigation.

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