Matthew S. LaBeau and Zabbia N. Alholou were able to obtain summary disposition of a property loss case where the plaintiffs were seeking nearly $1,000,000 in damages resulting from a fire.
Plaintiffs were in the business of selling used truck parts. In 2017, a semi-truck parked overnight next to the plaintiffs’ building and caught fire. The fire spread to the neighboring building, rendering the structure a total loss and causing significant damage to the contents. Plaintiffs originally sued the owner of the vehicle claiming negligence. Plaintiffs subsequently amended the complaint to name Matt and Zabbia’s client, the insurance carrier for the truck.
Matt and Zabbia’s client argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by a one year statute of limitations. Plaintiffs argued that the statute of limitations did not apply due to the doctrines or Reliance, Estoppel, and Unjust Enrichment, essentially arguing that that carrier engaged in fraud. Over Matt and Zabbia’s objection, the plaintiffs were permitted to engage in extensive discovery in an effort to prove their claims. After extensive briefing and lengthy oral argument, the trial court found that the statute of limitations applied and dismissed plaintiffs’ claims entirely. The decision was upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a unanimous opinion.