SARAH L. GORDON is a Partner with Vandeveer Garzia. Sarah practices extensively in the areas of first and third-party auto negligence, premises liability and general civil litigation. While attending the Michigan State University College of Law, Sarah was a member of The Michigan State Law Review. She has served as a case evaluator in both Huron and Tuscola Counties.
Michigan State University, B. A. Political Science, 1988
Michigan State University College of Law, cum laude, J.D. 1991
State Bar of Michigan 1991
United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan 1991
State Bar of Michigan, Negligence and Insurance and Indemnity sections
Vandeveer Garzia attorneys prevail on a Motion for Summary Disposition
Holland v Citizens
Sarah Gordon and Tina Battle obtained a dismissal, with prejudice, on behalf of their clients, Citizens Insurance Company of America and Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest, on a cause of action for uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits under a personal auto policy and uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits under a separate umbrella policy in a wrongful death action pending in the Wayne County Circuit Court. The cause of action arose out of a motor vehicle vs. motorcycle accident in which the owner and operator of the motorcycle died when struck by the defendant driver who turned left in front of the motorcycle. The potential exposure to their clients was 1.5 million dollars.
Ms. Gordon and Ms. Battle filed a Motion for Summary Disposition arguing that uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits were excluded under the personal auto policy because coverage was not provided to an insured who was occupying a motor vehicle owned by that insured which was not insured for coverage under the personal auto policy. The term motor vehicle was not defined within the UM/UIM portion of the policy and accordingly Defense counsel argued that the dictionary or common meaning of the term applied which included a motorcycle. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the policy was ambiguous because it contained definitions of a motor vehicle which excluded motorcycles in other portions of the policy, specifically in the Accidental Death portion of the Policy and the Personal Injury Protection portion of the Policy. The Honorable Annette J. Berry agreed with the argument that the policy was not ambiguous and when given its commonly used meaning, the term motor vehicle included a motorcycle. Accordingly, UIM benefits were excluded. Ms. Gordon and Ms. Battle also successfully argued that the umbrella policy excluded any claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits unless a special endorsement was added to the policy.
Preparation pays off in very favorable settlement
Communicare Michigan, LLC v. Citizens Insurance Company.
Sarah L. Gordon recently mediated a large provider claim involving a semi-independent day program in which the provider was claiming entitlement to over $380,000 in damages, and the patient claimed over $70,000 in agency-provided attendant care and additional medical expenses. In order to better negotiate this claim, three Motions for Summary Disposition were filed setting forth various arguments that the day program facility was operating as an unlicensed adult foster care facility, that the facility lacked standing to bring suit, and that the medical expenses and attendant care were unreasonable and not medically necessary. Ultimately, Sarah was able to negotiate a very reasonable resolution to the past and present damages, and also negotiate a future agreement which will result in a savings to their client of well over $1,000,000.
Dismissal of lawsuit by Plaintiff
Bell v Citizens
Sarah Gordon recently filed a Motion for Summary Disposition on a case in which Plaintiff was claiming entitlement to first-party No Fault benefits and uninsured motorist benefits. The Motion for Summary Disposition sought to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for first-party benefits because the defendant insurer was not in order of priority pursuant to MCL 500.3114. Further, it was requested that the uninsured motorist claim be dismissed on the basis that the plaintiff was not an insured based on the terms and definitions as set forth in the uninsured motorist policy, and therefore, coverage did not extend to the subject loss. Ultimately, upon reviewing the Motion for Summary Disposition, plaintiff acquiesced and agreed to dismiss his claims as to our defendant in their entirety.