News Brief

Del Gatto, Cook, & Opalewski Secure Summary Disposition: “Judicial Economy Doesn’t Trump Jurisdiction”

July 27, 2022

Brian Del Gatto (Partner-Phoenix), William Cook (Partner-Detroit, MI), and Paula Opalewski (Associate-Detroit, MI), prevailed in a motion for summary disposition in Genesee County Circuit Court in a case involving a dispute between a Canadian resident and her Canadian insurer. The Canadian resident was injured in a car accident in Michigan and sued her Canadian insurer for uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits (in addition to suing the at-fault driver). But because this claim is a contractual dispute between a Canadian resident and her Canadian insurer based on an insurance policy issued in Canada, Wilson Elser argued that no Michigan court has personal jurisdiction over the insurer to decide the dispute. Paula asked plaintiff’s counsel to dismiss the claims against our client, the insurer for the at-fault driver, before she filed the motion, but he mistakenly refused and the judge ruled in our favor. Plaintiff argued that the court should hear all the claims arising from the accident in the same lawsuit in Michigan, including claims against the at-fault driver and the Canadian insurer, because the accident happened in Michigan. Paula strongly argued otherwise and explained that judicial economy doesn’t trump jurisdiction. The judge agreed and granted the motion. The victory saved the Canadian client insurance carrier more than $1 million in potential exposure in the U.S.

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