News Brief

Mulvaney, Heinonen and Ruth Obtain Summary Judgment for Insurer on Coverage Related to Fireworks Explosion in Passenger Vehicle

December 29, 2020

Kevin Mulvaney (Partner-Michigan), Stacey Heinonen (Of Counsel-Michigan) and Eric Ruth (Associate-Michigan) obtained summary disposition on behalf of an insurer in a No-Fault coverage action in Saginaw County Circuit Court involving a fireworks explosion inside a passenger vehicle that severely injured the plaintiff. The plaintiff was seated in the middle of the back seat of a pick-up truck between two other passengers when one of them lit a 2-inch mortar firework with the intention to toss it out the window as the vehicle drove down a rural road in the early morning hours. The firework, however, fell to the floor and caused a chain reaction of a half-dozen other mortars that were on the floor under plaintiff’s seat. As a result of the explosions, the plaintiff suffered severe burns to her lower extremities and a ruptured eardrum. Exposure to the firm’s client was the entirety of all of the plaintiff’s medical treatment related to her injuries. The plaintiff argued that melted door handles prevented her from escaping the explosions and therefore caused or exacerbated her injuries before she could escape through the vehicle’s window after it came to a stop in the middle of the road. Kevin, Stacey and Eric used their biomechanical engineer's opinion to argue there was nothing about the vehicle that caused plaintiff’s injuries, which were the sole result of a criminal assault committed by a third party. The court agreed and dismissed all claims against the client insurer. 

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