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Paraplegiac cannot collect fees from AutoOwners because of delay in approving home modifications

Clyde Everett was injured in a May, 2006, car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.  His insurer was Auto Owners, which thereby assumed a duty to make appropriate modifications to his home to accommodate his newly-wheelchair-bound status.  Everett sued Auto Owners to compel compliance and argued that AutoOwners engaged in delaying tactics that prevented the modification of his home for almost two years.  The Trial Court agreed and awarded him $11,728.54 in attorney fees and costs, several months after the parties settled on $64,426.69 in modifications. 

The Court of Appeals over-turned the fee and costs award, noting that under the Engler Majority's Proudfoot decision, AutoOwners did not owe fees until Everett's expenses were "incurred."  Since Everett did not sign a contract with a builder to effect the modifications until he negotiated a settlement with AutoOwners, he did not "incur" any expense until that date--under the Proudfoot analysis--and therefore AutoOwners was not responsible for the fees Everett incurred to force AutoOwners to comply with its no fault obligation. 

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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