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Maryland Insurance Administration v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Maryland

January 23, 2017

MARYLAND INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL.

          Argued: December 5, 2016

         Circuit Court for Baltimore City Case No. 24-C-14-000883

          Barbera, C.J. Greene Adkins McDonald Watts Hotten Getty, JJ.

          OPINION

          Watts, J.

         This case requires the Court to determine whether an insured may receive personal injury protection ("PIP") coverage, under a personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy held by the insured, for injuries sustained while driving a taxicab owned by the insured but not covered by the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy, where the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy contains an exclusion for motor vehicles owned but not insured under the policy. Under Maryland law, generally, insurers are required to provide drivers with liability, PIP, and uninsured/underinsured motorist ("UM/UIM") coverage. See Md. Code Ann., Ins. (1997, 2011 Repl. Vol., 2016 Supp.) ("IN") §§ 19-504, 19-505, 19-509; Md. Code Ann., Transp. (1977, 2012 Repl. Vol., 2016 Supp.) ("TR") § 17-103. And, where a motor vehicle insurance policy contains PIP coverage and UM/UIM coverage, an insurer is required to provide PIP coverage to an insured or an insured's resident family member who is injured in a motor vehicle accident "while occupying a motor vehicle for which the coverages described in [IN] §§ 19-505 [(PIP coverage)] and 19-509 [(UM/UIM coverage)] are not in effect[.]" IN § 19-513(d)(1)(i). The definition of a "motor vehicle" set forth in IN § 19-501(b)(2)(ii), however, expressly excludes taxicabs as "motor vehicles" for purposes of Subtitle 5 of Title 19 of the Insurance Article; thus, IN § 19-505(a) does not require insurers to offer PIP coverage in policies insuring taxicabs.

         This case raises the overall issue of whether an insurer of a personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy, which includes PIP coverage, is responsible for PIP coverage for injuries that an insured sustained while driving a taxicab owned by the insured but not covered by the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy, or whether the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy's owned but not insured exclusion applies, such that the insurer is not responsible for PIP coverage under those circumstances. To answer that overarching question, this Court must determine three very specific issues: (1) whether a taxicab is a "motor vehicle" for purposes of the statutory exclusion from PIP coverage under IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) and for the payment of benefits under IN § 19-513(d)(1)(i); (2) whether "uninsured motor vehicle" for purposes of IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) means uninsured altogether, uninsured for PIP coverage, or not insured under the relevant motor vehicle liability insurance policy; and (3) whether the exclusion in the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy in this case-which excluded coverage, in pertinent part, for the insured "while occupying a motor vehicle owned by [the insured] . . . and which is not insured under the liability coverage of this policy" (capitalization omitted)-is authorized by the statutory exclusion from PIP coverage set forth in IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii), the "owned but uninsured" exclusion.

         As to the primary question presented in this case, we hold that an insurer of a personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy, which includes PIP coverage, is not responsible, as a result of the application of the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy's owned but not insured exclusion, for PIP coverage for injuries the insured sustained while driving a taxicab owned by the insured but not covered by the personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy. As to the more specific underlying issues, we conclude that: (1) a taxicab is a "motor vehicle" for purposes of the owned but uninsured exclusion from PIP coverage set forth in IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) and for the payment of benefits under IN § 19-513(d)(1)(i); (2) "uninsured motor vehicle" under IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) means uninsured for PIP coverage, such that a motor vehicle, including a taxicab, that is not insured for PIP coverage is an "uninsured motor vehicle" for purposes of IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii); and (3) the exclusion in the personal motor vehicle insurance policy in this case is authorized by the owned but uninsured exclusion from PIP coverage set forth in IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 14, 2011, Alhassan Bundu-Conteh ("Bundu-Conteh"), Respondent, was rear-ended by a motor vehicle while driving his taxicab. Bundu-Conteh sustained personal injuries. At the time of the accident, Bundu-Conteh owned two vehicles: a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee ("the Jeep") and a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria taxicab ("the taxicab"). The Jeep was insured under a liability and no-fault policy with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm"), Respondent, which included PIP coverage. The taxicab was insured by Amalgamated Insurance Company ("Amalgamated") and carried liability-only coverage, which does not include PIP coverage.[1]

         Following the accident, Bundu-Conteh submitted a PIP claim to State Farm for the injuries that he sustained. State Farm denied Bundu-Conteh's PIP claim, relying on the following exclusion ("the third exclusion") for no-fault coverage:

Exclusions
THERE IS NO COVERAGE:
3. FOR YOU OR ANY RESIDENT RELATIVE WHILE OCCUPYING A MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED BY YOU OR ANY RESIDENT RELATIVE AND WHICH IS NOT INSURED UNDER THE LIABILITY COVERAGE OF THIS POLICY[.]

         Bundu-Conteh subsequently filed a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Administration ("the MIA"), Petitioner. In the complaint, Bundu-Conteh contended that the third exclusion was inapplicable to him because, at the time of the accident, he was driving a taxicab, which IN § 19-501(b)(2)(ii) excludes from the definition of "motor vehicle."[2] Alternatively, Bundu-Conteh argued that, even if the taxicab were categorized as a "motor vehicle, " the third exclusion in the State Farm policy is incompatible with well-settled Maryland law.

         On December 27, 2012, after completing its review of the case, the MIA concluded that State Farm's denial of Bundu-Conteh's PIP claim violated IN §§ 4-113, [3] 19-505, [4] 19-513, [5] and 27-303.[6] Specifically, the MIA determined that, pursuant to IN § 19-513(d), State Farm is obligated to provide PIP benefits to its insured policy holders who are injured in a motor vehicle accident, subject to limited exclusions. According to the MIA, the third exclusion in State Farm's policy is incompatible with the exclusions under IN § 19-505(c) and thus constitutes "an arbitrary and capricious denial of a claim without just cause[.]"

         On January 25, 2013, State Farm appealed the MIA's determination and requested a hearing. Specifically, State Farm contended that the third exclusion fell squarely within the "owned but uninsured" exclusion under IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) and, thus, was permissible. According to State Farm, the taxicab was "uninsured" for the purposes of IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) because it was not insured under the State Farm policy. Both State Farm and the MIA, on Bundu-Conteh's behalf, filed with the Maryland Insurance Commissioner ("the Commissioner") cross-motions for summary decision. On August 15, 2013, the Commissioner held a hearing on the cross-motions for summary decision. On January 24, 2014, the Commissioner issued a Memorandum and Final Order, concluding that State Farm's denial of coverage to Bundu-Conteh violated IN §§ 19-505 and 19-513. The Commissioner determined that the third exclusion is not a permissible exclusion under IN § 19-505(c). Specifically, the Commissioner determined that, under the plain language of IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii), the meaning of "uninsured motor vehicle" is "a motor vehicle without insurance." Thus, the Commissioner concluded that to interpret IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) as excluding coverage for individuals like Bundu-Conteh, who carried PIP coverage on their vehicles and were not injured while in an "uninsured" vehicle, "would be contrary to the remedial legislative purpose of assuring compensation for damages to victims of motor vehicle accidents without regard to fault." The Commissioner, therefore, granted the MIA's motion for summary decision and ordered State Farm to pay Bundu-Conteh's PIP claim arising from the accident plus 1.5% interest for each intervening month starting 30 days after Bundu-Conteh first submitted his PIP claim.

         On February 20, 2014, State Farm filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City ("the circuit court") a petition for judicial review. On January 9, 2015, the circuit court issued a Memorandum and Order reversing the Commissioner's Final Order. On January 29, 2015, the MIA noted an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. In an unreported opinion dated March 15, 2016, the Court of Special Appeals affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. State Farm subsequently requested that the Court of Special Appeals report the opinion. On June 1, 2016, the Court of Special Appeals reported the opinion. See Md. Ins. Admin. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 228 Md.App. 126, 137 A.3d 310 (2016). The MIA thereafter filed in this Court a petition for a writ of certiorari, which we granted on September 2, 2016. See Md. Ins. Admin. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., 450 Md. 102, 146 A.3d 463 (2016).

          DISCUSSION

         The Parties' Contentions

         The MIA contends that the Court of Special Appeals erred by not affording deference to the Commissioner's interpretation of IN § 19-505. According to the MIA, the Commissioner correctly determined that, at the time of the accident, Bundu-Conteh was not driving an "uninsured motor vehicle" and, thus, the exclusion under IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii) does not apply. Indeed, the MIA argues that the taxicab was neither a "motor vehicle" nor "uninsured." Furthermore, the MIA asserts that the third exclusion of State Farm's policy is not authorized by IN § 19-505(c), and thus is invalid.

         State Farm responds that the Commissioner's interpretation of "uninsured" for purposes of IN § 19-505 was erroneous. Specifically, State Farm argues that well-established Maryland law requires that the definition of "uninsured motor vehicle" be interpreted contextually, and, in this context, "uninsured motor vehicle" refers to vehicles without PIP coverage. Thus, State Farm asserts that Bundu-Conteh's taxicab was, by definition, an uninsured motor vehicle at the time of the accident.

         State Farm further contends that the Commissioner's interpretation of the taxicab as "insured" for the purposes of IN § 19-505 provides a windfall for individuals like Bundu-Conteh, who, theoretically, could carry PIP coverage on only one vehicle, purchase multiple other vehicles, insure them at the bare minimum level of coverage, and subsequently rely on the single PIP policy to cover all of the vehicles. State Farm also argues that the Commissioner misapplied relevant Maryland case law. Specifically, State Farm argues that the Commissioner erroneously relied on Nasseri v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 390 Md. 188, 888 A.2d 284 (2005), which, according to State Farm, is distinguishable from the instant case, as it did not contemplate the owned but uninsured exclusion under IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii).

         In reply, the MIA contends that the Commissioner's plain language interpretation of "uninsured motor vehicle" is consistent with the underlying legislative intent underlying the no-fault provisions of the Insurance Article. The MIA argues that the General Assembly enacted the owned but uninsured exclusion to specifically address "uninsured" vehicles- i.e. vehicles entirely lacking insurance-not those lacking only PIP coverage. Additionally, the MIA asserts that the statutes in the Insurance Article are remedial, and should be liberally construed in favor of the insured. Furthermore, the MIA maintains that the Commissioner's interpretation of IN § 19-505 would not provide insured motorists like Bundu-Conteh with a windfall, but, in the event that it did, this would be an issue for the General Assembly to resolve.

         Standard of Review

         In Md. Aviation Admin. v. Noland, 386 Md. 556, 571, 873 A.2d 1145, 1154 (2005), this Court stated:

A court's role in reviewing an administrative agency adjudicatory decision is narrow; it is limited to determining if there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the agency's findings and conclusions, and to determine if the administrative decision is premised upon an erroneous conclusion of law.

(Citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Charles Cnty. Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Vann, 382 Md. 286, 295, 855 A.2d 313, 319 (2004) ("When an agency makes 'conclusions of law' in a contested case, the [Administrative Procedure Act] permits the court, on judicial review, to decide the correctness of the agency's conclusions and to substitute the court's judgment for that of the agency's." (Citations omitted)). Furthermore, "an administrative agency's interpretation and application of the statute which the agency administers should ordinarily be given considerable weight by reviewing courts." Bd. of Physician Quality Assurance v. Banks, 354 Md. 59, 69, 729 A.2d 376, 381 (1999) (citations omitted). "However, if we determine that the agency's decision is based on an erroneous conclusion of law, no deference is given to those conclusions." Kenwood Gardens Condos., Inc. v. Whalen Props., LLC, 449 Md. 313, 325, 144 A.3d 647, 655 (2016).

         In addition, because the issue in this case involves statutory interpretation, we set forth the pertinent rules of statutory construction:

The cardinal rule of statutory construction is to ascertain and effectuate the intent of the General Assembly.
As this Court has explained, to determine that purpose or policy, we look first to the language of the statute, giving it its natural and ordinary meaning. We do so on the tacit theory that the General Assembly is presumed to have meant what it said and said what it meant. When the statutory language is clear, we need not look beyond the statutory language to determine the General Assembly's intent. If the words of the statute, construed according to their common and everyday meaning, are clear and unambiguous and express a plain meaning, we will give effect to the statute as it is written. In addition, we neither add nor delete words to a clear and unambiguous statute to give it a meaning not reflected by the words that the General Assembly used or engage in forced or subtle interpretation in an attempt to extend or limit the statute's meaning. If there is no ambiguity in the language, either inherently or by reference to other relevant laws or circumstances, the inquiry as to legislative intent ends.
If the language of the statute is ambiguous, however, then courts consider not only the literal or usual meaning of the words, but their meaning and effect in light of the setting, the objectives, and the purpose of the enactment under consideration. We have said that there is an ambiguity within a statute when there exist two or more reasonable alternative interpretations of the statute. When a statute can be interpreted in more than one way, the job of this Court is to resolve that ambiguity in light of the legislative intent, using all the resources and tools of statutory construction at our disposal.
If the true legislative intent cannot be readily determined from the statutory language alone, however, we may, and often must, resort to other recognized indicia-among other things, the structure of the statute, including its title; how the statute relates to other laws; the legislative history, including the derivation of the statute, comments and explanations regarding it by authoritative sources during the legislative process, and amendments proposed or added to it; the general purpose behind the statute; and the relative rationality and legal effect of various competing constructions.
In construing a statute, we avoid a construction of the statute that is unreasonable, illogical, or inconsistent with common sense.
In addition, the meaning of the plainest language is controlled by the context in which is appears. As this Court has stated, because it is part of the context, related statutes or a statutory scheme that fairly bears on the fundamental issue of legislative purpose or goal must also be considered. Thus, not only are we required to interpret the statute as a whole, but, if appropriate, in the context of the entire statutory scheme of which it is a part.

Bottini v. Dep't of Fin., 450 Md. 177, 187-89, 147 A.3d 371, 378 (2016) (citation omitted).

         Relevant Law

         In 1972, the General Assembly required PIP coverage as part of a larger statutory scheme that introduced no-fault coverage to the Maryland insurance marketplace and created the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund ("the MAIF") to expand access to motor vehicle insurance. See 1972 Md. Laws 281-82 (Ch. 73, H.B. 444). This Court has remarked that "[t]he requirement of [PIP] coverage was a major innovation in 1972; it represented the State's limited endorsement of the concept of no-fault automobile insurance, then being widely touted as the answer to perceived flaws in our system of compensating those injured in motor vehicle accidents." Md. Auto. Ins. Fund v. Perry, 356 Md. 668, 675, 741 A.2d 1114, 1118 (1999). Broadly, "[t]he thrust of the 1972 law was to extend, not restrict, insurance protection, especially a limited amount of primary, no-fault benefits for wage loss and basic medical expenses." Id. at 675, 741 A.2d at 1118. Indeed, this Court has explained:

PIP is a form of no fault insurance, that allows the insured to recover for medical expenses and lost income resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Its main purpose is to assure financial compensation to victims of motor vehicle accidents without regard to the fault of a named insured or other persons entitled to PIP benefits.

TravCo Ins. Co. v. Williams, 430 Md. 396, 403, 61 A.3d 50, 53-54 (2013) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Bishop v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins., 360 Md. 225, 230, 757 A.2d 783, 785 (2000) (same).

         Under IN § 19-505(a), insurers are required to provide PIP coverage as part of their policies:[7]

(a) Coverage required. - Unless waived in accordance with § 19-506 of this subtitle or rejected in accordance with § 19-506.1 of this subtitle, each insurer that issues, sells, or delivers a motor vehicle liability insurance policy in the State shall provide coverage for the medical, hospital, and disability benefits described in this section for each of the following individuals:
(1) except for individuals specifically excluded under § 27-609 of this article:
(i) the first named insured, and any family member of the first named insured who resides in the first named insured's household, who is injured in any motor vehicle accident, including an accident that involves an uninsured motor vehicle or a motor vehicle the identity of which cannot be ascertained; and
(ii) any other individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident while using the insured motor vehicle with the express or implied permission of the named insured;
(2) an individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident while occupying the insured motor vehicle as a guest or passenger; and
(3) an individual who is injured in a motor vehicle accident that involves the insured motor vehicle:
(i) as a pedestrian; or
(ii) while in, on, or alighting from a vehicle that is operated by animal or muscular power.

         As to the amount of PIP coverage required, IN §19-505(b)(2) provides that "[t]he minimum medical, hospital, and disability benefits provided by an insurer under this section shall include up to $2, 500 for" various payments.`

         Under IN § 19-506(a), however, an insured may waive PIP coverage.[8] If an insured waives PIP coverage, the insured is prevented from making a claim for PIP under any policy. See Perry, 356 Md. at 676, 741 A.2d at 1118 ("In allowing insureds to waive PIP benefits under their own policies, however, the [General Assembly] determined that a waiver of PIP benefits was a total waiver, and that, if an insured waived such benefits under his/her own policy, the insured could not collect those benefits from any other insurer." (Emphasis in original)).[9] Similarly, an insured may also waive higher levels of UM/UIM coverage, provided that the insured carries liability insurance in excess of the minimum coverage required under Maryland law. See IN § 19-510(a) and (b); Swartzbaugh v. Encompass Ins. Co. of Am., 425 Md. 614, 618, 42 A.3d 587, 589 (2012) ("Under the State insurance code, UM coverage under a motor vehicle insurance policy is by default equal to the liability coverage under the policy. This level of coverage may be waived, however, in favor of a lesser amount at least equal to the minimum coverage required by the motor vehicle law." (Citations omitted)).

         IN § 19-513(d)(1) governs the payment of benefits where coverage under IN §§ 19-505 and 19-509 is not in effect, providing as follows:

The insurer under a policy that contains the coverages described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 of this subtitle shall pay the benefits described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 to an individual insured under the policy who is injured in a motor vehicle accident:
(i) while occupying a motor vehicle for which the coverages described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 of this subtitle are not in effect; or
(ii) by a motor vehicle for which the coverages described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 of this subtitle are not in effect as a pedestrian, while in, on, or alighting from a vehicle powered by animal or muscular power, or while on or alighting from an animal.

         Indeed, unlike liability coverage, generally, PIP coverage follows the insured, not the motor vehicle. See Nasseri, 390 Md. at 196, 888 A.2d at 288 ("The language of the Insurance Article, as well as numerous opinions by this Court, make it clear that an insured, who has PIP coverage under a policy on the insured's motor vehicle, and who is injured in an accident while occupying a different motor vehicle owned by someone else, is ordinarily entitled to PIP coverage under the policy on the insured's vehicle.").

         One exception to the requirement of PIP coverage-aside from waiver or rejection of PIP coverage under IN §§ 19-506 and 19-506.1, respectively-involves taxicabs. IN § 19-501(b)(2)(ii), states that the term "motor vehicle" "does not include . . . a taxicab as defined in § 11-165 of the Transportation Article." A taxicab is not required to be insured under a policy that includes PIP coverage.[10] In Nasseri, 390 Md. at 195-96, 888 A.2d at 288, we noted that the purpose of the legislation excluding a taxicab from the definition of "motor vehicle" "was simply to provide that the compulsory automobile liability insurance policies on taxicabs and certain other vehicles did not have to contain policy provisions for PIP and some other statutory coverages." See also id. at 191, 888 A.2d at 285 ("At the time of the accident, the taxicab was covered only by liability insurance, in accordance with the minimum requirements of Maryland law applicable to taxicabs.").

         Additionally, under certain circumstances, an insurer may exclude PIP coverage. See IN § 19-505(c). Relevant to this case is the "owned but uninsured" exclusion set forth in IN § 19-505(c)(1)(ii):

An insurer may exclude from the coverage described in this section benefits for:
(ii) the named insured or a family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household for an injury that occurs while the named insured or family member is occupying an uninsured motor vehicle owned by:
1.the named insured; or
2.an immediate family member of the named insured who resides in the named insured's household.

         The General Assembly created the owned but uninsured exclusion through the enactment Chapter 573 of the Acts of 1982 ("Chapter 573"). 1982 Md. Laws 3442-43 (Vol. IV, Ch. 573, S.B. 983); see also Nasseri, 390 Md. at 200-01, 888 A.2d at 291. Chapter 573 introduced the following language regarding PIP coverage:

THE INSURER MAY EXCLUDE FROM THE COVERAGE PRESCRIBED IN § 539, BENEFITS FOR THE NAMED INSURED OR MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY RESIDING IN THE HOUSEHOLD WHEN OCCUPYING AN UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS OWNED BY THE NAMED INSURED OR A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY RESIDING IN HIS HOUSEHOLD.

1982 Md. Laws 3444 (Vol. IV, Ch. 573, S.B. 983).[11] Chapter 573 provided similar language regarding exclusion of UM/UIM coverage:

HOWEVER, THE INSURER MAY EXCLUDE FROM COVERAGE BENEFITS FOR THE NAMED INSURED OR MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY RESIDING IN THE HOUSEHOLD WHEN OCCUPYING, OR STRUCK AS A PEDESTRIAN BY, AN UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS OWNED BY THE NAMED INSURED OR A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY RESIDING IN HIS HOUSEHOLD.

1982 Md. Laws 3443 (Vol. IV, Ch. 573, S.B. 983).[12]

         The General Assembly created the owned but uninsured exclusion on the heels of this Court's decision in Pa. Nat'l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Gartelman, 288 Md. 151, 416 A.2d 734 (1980). In that case, the plaintiff, Doris Gartelman ("Gartelman"), was injured while driving her husband's moped when another motor vehicle forced the moped off the road. See id. at 153, 416 A.2d at 735. At the time of the accident, the moped was uninsured, but Gartelman claimed PIP and UM coverage under her husband's insurance policy with Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance ("Pennsylvania National"). See id. at 153, 416 A.2d at 735. Pennsylvania National denied Gartelman's claim, relying on an owned but uninsured exclusion in the policy. See id. at 155, 416 A.2d at 736. Given that Maryland's motor vehicle insurance statutes did not include or authorize an owned but uninsured exclusion, this Court invalidated Pennsylvania National's policy exclusion, explaining:

[The statute] expressly provides for only four exclusions from the required PIP coverage. It does not expressly provide an exclusion for an insured occupying an uninsured motor vehicle owned by a named insured. We decline to insert such an exclusion which would be contrary to the remedial legislative purpose of assuring compensation for damages to victims of motor vehicle accidents without regard to fault.

Id. at 156-157, 416 A.2d at 737. Indeed, following Gartelman, we remarked that "this Court has consistently held that exclusions from statutorily mandated insurance coverage not expressly authorized by the [General Assembly] generally will not be recognized." Nasseri, 390 Md. at 198, 888 A.2d at 290 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). In rendering the Final Order, the Commissioner relied on Nasseri, 390 Md. 188, 888 A.2d 284, so we set forth the facts and holdings of that case in detail.

         In Nasseri, id. at 196, 888 A.2d at 288-89, we held that a taxicab driver was entitled to PIP coverage from the insurance policy on his personal vehicle when he sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident while driving a taxicab that he did not own. The plaintiff, Ebrahim Nasseri ("Nasseri"), was injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving a taxicab that belonged to Action Taxicab, Inc. See id. at 191, 888 A.2d at 285. The taxicab was covered under a liability-only policy, but Nasseri maintained insurance coverage, including PIP coverage, on his personal vehicle through GEICO General Insurance Company ("GEICO"). See id. at 191, 888 A.2d at 285-86. Nasseri filed a claim on his GEICO policy for the injuries that he sustained in the accident. See id. at 191, 888 A.2d at 286. GEICO denied the claim, arguing that, because Nasseri was driving a taxicab at the time of the accident, he was not injured in a "motor vehicle accident" for purposes of IN § 19-505. Nasseri, 390 Md. at 191, 888 A.2d at 286. Furthermore, GEICO asserted that Nasseri's policy did not apply because it included an exclusion that specified that an insured was "not covered if injured while in, or through being struck by, any motor vehicle which is not an insured auto if it is . . . available for the regular use of the insured." Id. at 190-92, 888 A.2d at 285-86 (ellipsis in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). The trial court found in favor of GEICO. See id. at 192, 888 A.2d at 286. We reversed. See id. at 193, 888 A.2d at 286.

         Turning first to the issue of whether Nasseri was involved in a "motor vehicle accident, " we observed the following:

For purposes of this case, we shall assume arguendo that the statutory phrase "motor vehicle accident" in subsection [IN § 19-501](c)(1) incorporates the taxicab exclusion in subsection [IN § 19-501](b)(2)(ii), and that an accident between two taxicabs might not be a "motor vehicle accident" within the meaning of subsection [IN § 19-501](c)(1). Nevertheless, as long as another motor vehicle, which is not a taxicab or bus, is involved in the accident, such accident plainly comes within the definition of "motor vehicle accident" in subsection [IN § 19-501](c)(1). The subsection requires only the involvement of one motor vehicle for there to be a motor vehicle accident; it does not require that all vehicles involved in the collision be "motor vehicles."
Nasseri was certainly injured in a motor vehicle accident under the language of the statute, and [IN] § 19-505 provides PIP coverage for anyone injured in any motor vehicle accident.

Nasseri, 390 Md. at 193-94, 888 A.2d at 287 (italics in original). Interpreting the language of IN § 19-513, we explained that the circumstances of Nasseri's accident appeared to fall squarely within the coverage contemplated under the Insurance Article:

The applicability of [IN] § 19-505, under the circumstances of this case, is reinforced by the language of [IN] § 19-513(d)(1)(i) []. [IN §] 19-513(d)(1)(i) states:
"[](1) The insurer under a policy that contains the coverages described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 of this subtitle shall pay the benefits described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 to an individual insured under the policy who is injured in a motor vehicle accident:
(i) while occupying a motor vehicle for which the coverages described in §§ 19-505 and 19-509 of this subtitle are not in effect. . . ."
It would appear that the above-quoted language was directly aimed at circumstances like those presented here. The vehicles "for which the coverages described in [IN] §§ 19-505 and 19-509" would legally not be "in effect" are taxicabs, buses, vehicles owned by the State of Maryland, and vehicles for which the first named insured has made "an affirmative written waiver of PIP benefits." In this case, Nasseri had an insurance policy providing PIP benefits, and he was occupying a motor vehicle for which PIP benefits were not in effect. A holding that he was not entitled to PIP benefits, precisely because he was occupying a vehicle for which PIP benefits were not in effect, could not be reconciled with [IN] § 19-513(d)(1)(i).

Nasseri, 390 Md. at 194-95, 888 A.2d at 287-88 (emphasis added) (ellipsis in original) (brackets and footnotes omitted). We considered the legislative intent behind excluding taxicabs from classification as "motor vehicles" and observed that the rationale for doing so was merely to exclude taxicabs and certain other vehicles from compulsory PIP and similar coverage. See id. at 195-96, 888 A.2d at 288. Thus, we explained that "[t]he purpose was not to negate required PIP and other required coverages, under policies on all other types of motor vehicles, whenever a taxicab happened to be involved in an accident with another type of motor vehicle." Id. at 196, 888 A.2d at 288. We, therefore, concluded that "an insured, who has PIP coverage under a policy on the insured's motor vehicle, and who is injured in an accident while ...


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