The state Court of Appeals upheld a Macomb County judge in denying a payment of nearly half a million dollars to the estate of one of the victims of the Stony Creek crash in 2015.
A three-judge panel has unanimously ruled that the estate of Michael Wells cannot collect a $475,000 payment in a consent judgment in relation to the May 2015 crash that saw three teenagers perish.
Judges ruled the auto exclusion applied to the State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. home insurance policy for Gregory and Dawn Bobhick, parents of an injured passenger who actually owned the 2008 Jaguar that crashed. crushed. The youths were at the Bobchicks’ home in Shelby Township before the crash. The five occupants all had blood alcohol levels between 0.024% and 0.086%; Dawn Bobchick has denied providing alcohol to minors.
Upholding Circuit Judge Edward Servitto, the judges say in a four-page opinion that plaintiff cannot collect in one part of the case and argue otherwise to collect in another part of the case.
The Wells estate has already received $100,000 from the Bobchicks’ auto insurer based on the plaintiff’s argument that the Bobchicks had an “insurable interest” in the vehicle, which belonged to an extended family member, but was actually lent to them.
But the plaintiff argued the opposite for the case against State Farm.
Plaintiff “should not now be permitted to take the ‘wholly inconsistent’ position that the Bobchicks’ association with the Jaguar subject matter is so remote or attenuated that their owner policy excludes coverage in connection with ownership or use of a vehicle owned or operated by or loaned to an insured does not apply,” the judges wrote.
“The subject owners’ policy includes an exclusion of coverage for personal liability or payment of medical expenses of others, arising from “bodily injury or property damage resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use of the loading or unloading of a motor vehicle owned or operated or leased or loaned to an insured,” they added.
The decision “protects” the defendant from the $475,000 “social liability of the host”, the judges say.
The opinion was issued on May 26 after the state Supreme Court returned the case to the appeals court in February.
The appeals court previously ruled that the argument of whether the automobile exclusion section of the policy applied did not stand because Servitto had not ruled on it. But the high court ruled in February that she was preserved because State Farm argued her in circuit court.
In addition to Wells, 17, of Macomb Township, killed in the crash on May 8, 2015, were Jonathan Manolios, 17, and Emanuel ‘Manny’ Malaj, 17, both of Sterling Heights. Gregory Bobchick Jr., now 24, and Joseph Narra, now 25, were injured. Bobchick Jr. and Narra pleaded guilty to a charge of minor in possession, a misdemeanor.
Sheriff’s investigators determined the black Jaguar S-Type was traveling 62-72 mph in a 35 mph zone on the wrong side of Park Road when it crashed into a guardrail, rolled five times and crashed landed at Stony Creek in Washington Township Park.
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