County District Court File No. 27-CV-15-15807
Hanson, Robert J. King, Jr., Benjamin E. Gurstelle, Briggs
and Morgan, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
J. Hoekstra, David M. Werwie & Associates, St. Paul,
Minnesota (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kirk, Presiding Judge; Schellhas,
Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.
insured cannot recover from an underinsured motorist
tortfeasor because the insured failed to sue the tortfeasor
within the applicable limitations period, the insured may not
bring a claim for underinsured motorist benefits because the
claim has not ripened.
challenges the district court's rule 12.02(e) dismissal
of his claim for underinsured motorist benefits based on his
failure to first recover from the underinsured tortfeasor
through adjudication or settlement. We affirm.
April 2012, appellant Michael Ronning suffered permanent
injuries in Iowa after a pickup truck in which he was a
passenger collided with a vehicle driven by Lawrence Kruger.
Respondent State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
insured the truck under a policy that included $1 million in
underinsured motorist coverage. Ronning retained an attorney
to sue Kruger. Kruger's only liability insurance was a
bodily-injury policy issued by Farm Bureau Property &
Casualty Insurance Company with a coverage limit of $100,
000. In August 2015, after Ronning's attorney failed to
sue Kruger within Iowa's two-year statute-of-limitations
period for personal injury claims, Ronning sued State Farm
for underinsured motorist benefits. State Farm moved the
district court to dismiss Ronning's claim for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Ronning also commenced a malpractice lawsuit against his
former attorney for failing to timely sue Kruger. Ronning and
his former attorney agreed to settle the malpractice claim,
and Ronning sent State Farm a purported
Schmidt-Clothier notice, informing it of the
tentative settlement. State Farm did not substitute a payment
to Ronning in the amount of the settlement. Instead, State
Farm responded by amending its motion to dismiss and asking
the district court to declare the Schmidt-Clothier
notice invalid, or, in the alternative, to stay the 30-day
notice period until the court determined whether Ronning had
pleaded a legally viable underinsured motorist claim.
district court granted State Farm's motion to dismiss,
concluding that because Ronning admittedly could not resolve
his time-barred tort claim against Kruger through
adjudication or settlement, he could not satisfy the