This is an automobile negligence action. Both parties to the litigation are residents of the State of Michigan.
On appeal plaintiff raises two assignments of error: (1) whether an action between Michigan residents is barred by the one-year Ontario statute of limitations because the cause of action accrued in Ontario; and (2) whether the Michigan statute allowing a person to bring an action within one year after the removal of the disability of infancy
Where an action is brought in one jurisdiction for a tortious act which occurred in another jurisdiction the conflict of laws rule followed is that the law of the forum determines whether the cause was brought within the applicable limitations period. Yount v Nat'l Bank of Jackson, 327 Mich. 342 (1950).
Now we turn to the second and no doubt more perplexing question of whether the fact that the Ontario statute of limitations is applicable to the cause herein necessarily requires that we adopt not only the province's time limitation but also its tolling provisions (thus denying plaintiff the benefit of the Michigan statute allowing a person to bring an action within one year after removal of the disability of infancy merely because her claim accrued in Ontario).
Defendant-appellee contends that Ontario law must be applied to this issue and that under the law of that province the statute of limitations runs against a minor in the same manner as anyone else, citing Martin v Kingston City Coach Co, Ontario Weekly Notes, p 915 (1946), which was affirmed in Ontario Weekly Notes, p 110 (1947). Undoubtedly, Martin, supra, holds that the highway traffic act does not differentiate between minors and adults and applies to both equally. Thus, if Ontario law were applied this action clearly would be barred. However, we decline to automatically follow Martin in light of certain substantial countervailing policy considerations.
Significantly, the uniform act uses the terms "period of limitation" and the disability act applies "although the period of limitations has run". Regarding the Legislature's choice of language as a deliberate one leads us to conclude that it intended that the disability statute applies regardless of what the period of limitations was. Such a construction permits us to reconcile two otherwise
Reversed and remanded. Plaintiff may tax costs.
"(1) Subject to subsections 2 and 3, no action shall be brought against a person for the recovery of damages occasioned by a motor vehicle after the expiration of twelve months from the time when the damages were sustained."
"The period of limitation applicable to a claim accruing outside of this state shall be either that prescribed by the law of the place where the claim accrued or by the law of this state, whichever bars the claim."
"If the person first entitled to make an entry or bring an action is under 18 years of age, insane or imprisoned at the time his claim accrues, he or those claiming under him shall have 1 year after his disability is removed through death or otherwise, to make the entry or bring the action although the period of limitations has run. This section does not lessen the time provided for in section 5852." (Emphasis supplied).