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Castillo v. American Standard Insurance Co. of Wisconsin

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 17, 2017

Sandra Castillo as Personal Representative of the Estate of Jose Luis Estrada-Martinez, Appellant,
v.
American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, Respondent.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-15-11939

         Affirmed

          Matthew Brenengen, Brenengen Law Offices, St. Louis Park, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Rylee Retzer-Busselman, Beth K. Bussian, Eden Prairie, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Schellhas, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Jesson, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         When determining whether repairing or servicing a motor vehicle "occurs off the business premises" for purposes of the no-fault benefits exclusion under Minnesota Statutes section 65B.43, subdivision 3 (2016), a business premises may include a mobile business.

          OPINION

          JESSON, Judge

         Jose Luis Estrada-Martinez died from carbon monoxide poisoning while repairing a customer's tire inside his truck on a winter evening. In this no-fault action seeking personal-injury-protection benefits, appellant challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment to respondent insurer. Because Estrada-Martinez's death arose from conduct occurring on his business premises, so that the relevant statutory exclusion from coverage under Minnesota Statutes section 65B.43, subdivision 3, applies, we affirm.

         FACTS

         The undisputed facts establish that on December 12, 2013, Jose Luis Estrada-Martinez was fixing a customer's tire in the cargo bay of Estrada-Martinez's box truck, a 2002 Chevrolet Express, while the truck was parked near a tavern in Edina. Estrada-Martinez was using a gasoline-powered generator to power the tire-changing equipment. He vented the exhaust from the generator through the side of the truck. It was a cold evening, and the truck's loading door was closed. Unfortunately, a leak between the exhaust pipe and the generator's manifold allowed carbon monoxide to enter the cargo area. The generator apparently ran until it ran out of gas. Estrada-Martinez was found unresponsive in the back of the truck, and he was declared dead from carbon monoxide poisoning at Hennepin County Medical Center.

         Estrada-Martinez held several jobs. He worked primarily as an independent contractor at Crosstown Auto, making auto-parts deliveries with his box truck. He also had a mobile business performing auto and tire repairs for other customers. He would drive to customers' locations, where he performed maintenance and repairs. Most of this repair work was performed in the rear cargo bay of his truck, where he kept mounting and repairing equipment, including tools, a large compressor, and the gasoline-powered generator. Occasionally, he performed repair work at the garage of his home.

         At the time of his accident, Estrada-Martinez was insured under a family automobile policy (no-fault policy) with respondent American Standard Insurance Company. He did not have a separate business insurance policy that covered his mobile auto-repair business.

         Following Estrada-Martinez's death, appellant Sandra Castillo, the personal representative of his estate, made a claim for personal-injury-protection benefits for medical and funeral expenses. American Standard denied benefits, asserting that the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 65B.41-.71 (2016), excludes benefits for injuries or death arising out of the ...


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