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Taking your car to have oil changed is not "maintenance of a motor vehicle" and oil spill under snow is "open and obvious" danger

George Grantham fell after exiting his car at the local Jiffy Lube. He claimed that he slipped on a patch of oil under a covering of snow.  He sued the owner of the Jiffy Lube and also his auto insurer, Allstate. Allstate would be responsible for his medical and wage loss if the injury "arose out of the use, ownership or maintenance of a motor vehicle."  The Court held that taking his car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change is not "maintenance of a motor vehicle" under the no fault act; it apparently concluded that the plain language of the statute means something other than what it says.

With regard to the claimed oil spill, the Judges ruled that since Grantham had notice of snow on the ground, and since snow can hide slippery ice, Grantham had notice of the need to be careful and the Jiffy Lube operators were under no duty to clean up the oil spill.  Perhaps this is the right outcome in this case, but accross the board it seems like tortured logic and strained statutory interpretation.  In any event, the outcome favoring two insurers is the customary outcome for a case involving Judge Christopher Murray.

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