Supreme Court majority rules that minority tolling statute does not apply to no fault benefits owed to quadriplegiac girl
In Joseph v. Auto Club Insurance, the Republican majority of the Michigan Supreme Court confirmed its prior ruling that the long-standing Michigan law allowing legal actions by infants--and all minors under age 18--one year after reaching the age of majority in which to take legal action, does not apply to no fault benefits. By the terms of the statute, the statute of limitations does not run on a child until one year after reaching the "age of majority." Actions are "tolled" until that date.
While the Republican majority agreed that the statute clearly applies to No Fault PIP benefits, along with all other actions, it gutted the meaning of the statute by holding that no benefits may be recovered. It held that while "an action may be brought" the child (or a parent or guardian on behalf of a child) may not recover benefits that were due more than one year before the action is filed. In typical fashion for the insurance-oriented (and supported) majority, the "plain meaning" of the statute is given lip service and then ignored if it would operate to the disadvantage of the insurance industry.
The case arose out of Doreen Joseph's entitlement to medical and support services after she was brain-injured and paralyzed from the neck down in a motorvehicle accident. The Supreme Court majority ruled that even if she was under-paid in prior years, she can recover only those benefits which are less than one year old.