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Jansen v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

February 21, 2017

Carol Jansen, Respondent,
v.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Appellant.

         Dakota County District Court File No. 19HA-CV-15-4067

          Jeffrey M. Montpetit, Marcia K. Miller, Sieben Carey, PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Suzanne Wolbeck Kvas, Lutter, Gilbert & Kvas, LLC, Eagan, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Judge; and Bjorkman, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         For purposes of Minn. Stat. § 65B.525, subd. 1 (2016), a claim is the dollar amount of no-fault benefits alleged to be due and owing from the reparation obligor at the time the no-fault proceeding is commenced.

          OPINION

          BJORKMAN, Judge

         Appellant moved for summary judgment in this action for no-fault medical-expense benefits on the ground that the district court lacked jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. We reverse.

         FACTS

         Respondent Carol Jansen was injured in a motor vehicle accident on December 5, 2013. At the time of the accident, Jansen was insured under an automobile insurance policy issued by appellant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. The policy provides $20, 000 in coverage for no-fault medical-expense benefits. Jansen applied for no-fault benefits, and State Farm made payments. On July 27, 2014, following an independent medical examination, State Farm discontinued no-fault payments.

         On November 24, 2015, Jansen commenced this action in district court seeking recovery of "benefits due and owing" under her insurance policy. Discovery revealed that State Farm had already paid $14, 548.26 in medical-expense benefits and that Jansen had $30, 942.15 in unpaid medical bills. State Farm moved for summary judgment, arguing that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction and that Jansen must arbitrate her claim because it is less than the $10, 000 jurisdictional limit provided in Minn. Stat. § 65B.525, subd. 1. The district court denied the motion, concluding that it had jurisdiction because Jansen's claim includes the $14, 548.26 State Farm has already paid for medical expenses.[1] State Farm appeals.

         ISSUE

         Did the district court err in finding that it has subject-matter jurisdiction because Jansen's ...


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