United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles Thesing was injured in a car accident and filed this
action seeking underinsured motorist (“UIM”)
benefits from Defendant Imperium Insurance Company
(“Imperium”). Imperium moves for summary
judgment, arguing that Thesing's insurance policy with
Imperium bars recovery of UIM benefits. In the alternative,
Imperium moves for an order reducing its liability from $100,
000 to $75, 000. For the reasons below, the Court denies
Imperium's motion for summary judgment and grants
Imperium's motion for a reduction to its liability.
works for the Minnesota Department of Transportation
(“MnDOT”) as the leader on a drilling and soil
sampling crew. He is insured under a policy with Imperium
that provides a limit of $100, 000 in UIM coverage. Imperium
claims that Thesing also qualifies through his job for up to
$25, 000 in UIM benefits from the State of Minnesota Risk
Management Fund Automobile Insurance Program (“the
March 28, 2013, Thesing drove an MnDOT drill truck to a rural
location on Highway 84 to collect soil samples in preparation
for a potential road construction project. He was standing on
the rear of the truck to operate the drill controls when a
car hit and injured him. Thesing settled his claim against
the at-fault driver for the $100, 000 policy limit of the
driver's liability insurance coverage. This did not cover
Thesing's loses, making the at-fault driver an
underinsured motorist and triggering Thesing's right to
pursue UIM benefits.
Stat. § 65B.49 subd. 3a(5) directs an injured person
occupying a vehicle to “to seek [UIM] coverage
initially from the insurer of the motor vehicle [he or she]
occupied at the time of the accident and establishes as
limits of liability those specified in the policy on the
occupied vehicle.” Becker v. State Farm Mut. Auto.
Ins. Co., 611 N.W.2d 7, 11 (Minn. 2000). The statute
further provides that an injured person “may be
entitled to excess insurance protection” on a personal
policy if he or she was “not an insured” on the
policy covering the occupied vehicle. This is called
“excess UIM coverage.” Thesing has not received
any UIM benefits from the policy covering the MnDOT vehicle
he occupied during his injury. But he asked Imperium for
$100, 000 in excess UIM coverage. Imperium refused and
Thesing filed this action to recover the $100, 000.
Court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A factual dispute is material if its
resolution will affect the outcome of the suit. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
factual dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id. In making these
determinations, the Court draws all reasonable inferences
from the evidence in favor of the nonmoving party.
Id. at 255.
moves for summary judgment and, alternatively, for a
reduction to its liability. The Court denies the former
motion and grants the latter motion.
Motion for Summary Judgment.
moves for summary judgment because an exclusion in the
insurance policy allegedly precludes Thesing from recovering
excess UIM benefits. The exclusion states that:
Neither the Uninsured Motorist Coverage nor the Underinsured
Motorist Coverage apply to bodily injury sustained by: . . .
an Insured Person while occupying a motor vehicle furnished
by an Insured Person's employer and operated in the
course of that Insured Person's employment. This
exclusion does not apply to Your Car.
ECF No. 14-1 at 59. Thesing concedes that the exclusion
applies to his injury on the MnDOT truck on March 28, 2013.
But he maintains that the exclusion is invalid, as it
eliminates coverage required under the Minnesota No-Fault