The Coalition to Protect Auto No-Fault (CPAN) filed suit in Ingham County today to get accident and health information from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA).

From The Detroit News:

On the receiving end of the lawsuit is the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, a nonprofit association created by the state Legislature more than three decades ago. The association collects an annual assessment from auto policy holders — $145 per vehicle in 2011-12 — to help fund the lifetime payments.

Since Michigan drivers are required to pay that fee, CPAN officials believe the data kept by MCCA is in the public domain.

CPAN said in a statement that the group wants the information so that it can inform lawmakers who are considering proposed bills that would drastically reduce benefits to people injured in automobile accidents. Specifically, House Bill 4936 and Senate Bill 649 would end lifetime medical benefits.

According to CPAN, the organization tried to use the Freedom of Information Act to get records from the MCCA, which reimburses Michigan auto insurance companies for personal injury claims that exceed $500,000. But MCCA said it is not required to provide that information because it’s exempt from FOIA.

From CPAN:

CPAN’s lawsuit claims this 1988 “secrecy bill” is unlawful because the state Constitution prohibits lawmakers from amending laws by reference. Article 4, Section 25 of the Michigan Constitution states that laws “altered or amended shall be re-enacted and published at length.” …

During House Insurance Committee hearings, several legislators asked for more data to help inform their opinion about the proposed auto insurance changes. State Insurance Commissioner Kevin Clinton testified in defense of the MCCA’s secrecy and said that even if the data was available, legislators and the public “wouldn’t understand.”

CPAN is holding a press roundtable this afternoon at 1:30 in Lansing at the Boji Tower.

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