Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #359891; Unpublished
Judges Kelly, Boonstra, and Swartzle; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary disposition order dismissing Plaintiff Residential Care Solutions, LLC’s (“RCS”) action for No-Fault PIP benefits against Defendant Progressive Marathon Insurance Company (“Progressive”). The Court of Appeals held that under Admire v Auto-Owners Ins Co, 494 Mich 10 (2013), Alonzo White’s rent payments for the ADA-accessible housing he required as a result of the catastrophic injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle accident were not compensable under the No-Fault Act.
Both of Alonzo White’s legs were amputated after a motor vehicle crashed into him while a pedestrian. He thereafter required ADA-accessible housing, which RCS rented for him for $170 per day. The $170 encompassed only the cost of the living space, and not any care White received for his injuries, which was provided on a 24 hour per day basis by Centria Home Rehabilitation, LLC. RCS sought to bill Progressive, the insurer of the motor vehicle which crashed into White, for the $170 per day, but Progressive denied the claim. RCS then filed suit against Progressive, and Progressive moved for summary disposition, asserting that under Admire, RCS was not entitled to reimbursement for the cost of White’s ADA-compliant housing because “the expenses billed by RCS”—e.g., rent—“were the same expenses that White had before the accident.” The trial court granted Progressive’s motion, reasoning that ‘[r]ent and utilities are expenses that an uninjured person has to pay as well, and [RCS] fails to articulate what other expenses White has.’
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling, holding that “the apartment was not an allowable expense because it was not an expense for White’s care that resulted from the injuries.” The Court noted that the apartment was “already ADA-compliant and commercially available” when White moved in, and thus not of a “ ‘wholly new essential character’ as compared to the housing White needed before he was injured”—the test for compensability of accommodations set forth in Admire. Most importantly, the Court noted that RCS failed to present evidence to establish that White’s new housing expenses were greater than his housing expenses before the accident.
“In this case, the apartment was not an allowable expense because it was not an expense for White’s care that resulted from the injuries. There is no dispute White needed ADA-accessible housing because of the injuries he sustained in the automobile accident, but Progressive established that the apartment was already ADA-compliant and commercially available, and RCS did not make any additional modifications to the apartment to accommodate White’s injuries from the automobile accident. Additionally, RCS did not allege that it performed any services for White’s care. Instead, White had full-time caregivers provided by Centria. Therefore, the evidence demonstrates the apartment is not of a ‘wholly new essential character’ as compared to the housing White needed before he was injured, so it is not compensable under MCL 500.3107(1)(a). See Admire, 494 Mich at 30.
Importantly, RCS did not demonstrate that White had new housing expenses related to his injury. RCS provided no evidence regarding the difference between White’s housing expenses before the accident and after the accident, or that ADA-accessible housing is more expensive than non-ADA-accessible housing. RCS failed to present evidence that would have created a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether White’s postaccident housing expenses were causally related to his injuries. See Admire, 494 Mich at 30; see also Griffith, 472 Mich at 531. Therefore, the trial court properly granted partial summary disposition of RCS’s claim.”