North Star Mutual Insurance Company v. Kruger, et al.

(Unpublished, No. A15-1420 )

Minnesota Court of Appeals, May 2, 2016

 

The issues in North Star v. Kruger are whether the district court erred by determining (1) that the driver that had been involved in a crash had not been a resident relative under his father’s insurance policy, and (2) that an exclusion for ‘regular use’ had barred insurance coverage.

First, the court considered whether the district court had erred by determining the resident relative issue.  The court notes that there was conflicting evidence on record.  The district court had determined that the driver did not reside with his father at the time of the crash, but the district court did not address deposition testimony that the driver had a bedroom at his father’s house.  The court finds that the district court had engaged in fact finding when it weighed evidence and decided the issue.  In order for the district court to have properly granted summary judgment in favor of North Star, it would have needed to find that there were no genuine issues of material fact, and that North Star was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  However, the fact that the district court had weighed the evidence showed that there was a genuine issue of material fact.  As such, the court finds that the district court improperly acted as a fact finder on the issue of the driver’s residency.

The second issue is similar to the first.  The district court had granted summary judgment to North Star, determining that an exclusion in the insurance policy for ‘regular use’ barred the driver’s insurance claims.  Again, the appellate court found that the district court improperly weighed evidence and acted as fact finder when it determined this issue. 

Ultimately, the court reversed the district court’s summary judgment ruling and remanded for a jury to determine the issues of fact.

 

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