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Elzein v American Country Ins Co (COA – UNP 8/18/2022; RB #4464)   

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #352187; Unpublished 
Judges Sawyer, Letica, and Patel; Per Curiam 
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING: 
Not Applicable

TOPICAL INDEXING: 
Fraud/Misrepresentation


SUMMARY: 
In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s summary disposition order dismissing Plaintiff Moe Elzein’s first-party action against Defendant American Country Insurance Company (“ACIC”).  Relying on Haydaw v Farm Bureau Ins Co, 332 Mich App 719 (2020), the Court of Appeals held that ACIC could not invoke its policy’s antifraud provision based on fraudulent statements Elzein made during the course of litigation.

Moe Elzein was rear-ended while driving a vehicle for his company, Aref Metro Cab Inc. (“Aref”).  The vehicle was insured under a policy issued by ACIC to Aref, and after receiving approximately six months of treatment for back, neck, shoulder, and head injuries Elzein alleged were caused by the accident, he filed a first-party action for unpaid PIP benefits related to his injuries against ACIC.  At his deposition, Elzein failed to disclose that he had received treatment for similar injuries after a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2007, and, as a result, ACIC moved for summary disposition, arguing that the antifraud provision in Aref’s policy barred Elzein’s claim in its entirety.  The trial court agreed and granted ACIC’s motion.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s summary disposition order, relying on its holding in the subsequently-decided Haydaw: that misrepresentations made by a plaintiff during the course of litigation cannot implicate an insurance policy’s antifraud provision.  Noting that “[t]he facts of Haydaw bear a strong similarity to the facts of this case”—specifically, that, “as in Haydaw, defendant premised its motion for summary disposition on statements made by plaintiff at his deposition,”—the Court held that ACIC could not invoke its policy’s antifraud provision based on Elzein’s misrepresentations in his deposition.

“As noted, this case is factually similar to Haydaw. In this case, as in Haydaw, defendant premised its motion for summary disposition on statements made by plaintiff at his deposition. Likewise, the trial court premised its decision granting summary disposition on those same statements, made during the course of litigation. Thus, consistent with Haydaw, we reverse the trial court’s decision granting summary disposition for defendant.” 


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