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Nodak Ins. Co. v. Farm Family Casualty Ins. Co., et al.

Docket No. 20220114
Oral Argument: Monday, October 3, 2022 1:30 PM

Docket Info

Title
Nodak Insurance Company, Plaintiff and Appellee
v.
Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, Defendant and Appellant
and
Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual
Insurance Company; Samuel Hamilton;
Gordon Williams, individually and as
parent and next friend of H.W., a minor;
and Dawn Hustad and Kris Meduna,
individually and as parents and next
friends of A.M., a deceased minor, Plaintiffs
Case Type
CIVIL APPEAL : INSURANCE
Appeal From
Case No. 2019-CV-01787
Northwest Judicial District, Williams County
Kirsten Marie Sjue
Oral Argument 10/3/2022

Parties' Statement of Issues

  • Appellant

    1. Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Vermont Automobile Policy issued by Defendant and Appellant Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Family”) to its named insureds, Bruce and Diana Hamilton (the “Hamilton’s”), was in full force and effect and provided insurance coverage on a 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck being driven by the Hamilton’s son, Defendant and Appellee Samuel Hamilton, at the time of a motor vehicle accident which occurred on April 6, 2019, in Williams County, North Dakota.
    2. Whether the District Court erred in failing to conclude that the Vermont Automobile Policy issued by Farm Family to its named insureds, Bruce and Diana Hamilton, had effectively ceased, or terminated, on December 2, 2018—the date the Hamilton’s obtained a policy of insurance through Defendant and Appellee Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (“Mountain West”) which provided similar insurance coverage on the 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck being driven by Samuel Hamilton at the time of the April 6, 2019, motor vehicle accident.
    3. Whether the District Court erred in concluding that North Dakota law—as opposed to Vermont law or, alternatively, Montana law—applied to the determination of whether the Vermont Automobile Policy issued by Farm Family to its named insureds, Bruce and Diana Hamilton, was in full force and effect and provided insurance coverage on the 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck being driven by Samuel Hamilton at the time of the April 6, 2019, motor vehicle accident.

  • Appellee 1

    Nodak Insurance Company Issues:

    Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Automobile Policy issued by Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company to Bruce and Diana Hamilton was in full force and effect and provided insurance coverage on the 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck, owned by Bruce and Diana Hamilton and listed on the Farm Family Policy, driven by the Hamiltons' son Samuel Hamilton, at the time of a motor vehicle
    accident which occurred on April 6, 2019 in Williams County, North Dakota.


Summary

Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Family”) appeals after the district court granted summary judgment to Nodak Insurance Company (“Nodak”) and denied summary judgment to Farm Family.

This case arises out of an underlying April 2019 motor vehicle accident. In December 2019 Nodak brought this action for a judgment declaring that Farm Family’s liability policy was in effect at the time of the accident and, because of the policy limits, the vehicle could not be considered an “underinsured motor vehicle.” Farm Family denied Nodak’s claims and argued the policy had terminated because the named insureds had purchased an additional policy through Montana West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance (“Mountain West”) and, therefore, its policy was not in effect at the time of the accident. Nodak and Farm Family brought cross-motions for summary judgment. After a hearing, the district court granted Nodak’s motion in part and denied Farm Family’s cross-motion in part, concluding the Farm Family policy was in effect and provided coverage for the vehicle driven by the insureds’ son at the time of the crash. After additional briefing, the court further decided that the vehicle driven by the named insureds’ son was not an underinsured motor vehicle and that Farm Family and Mountain West must share pro rata in paying the loss.

On appeal, Farm Family argues that the district court erred in deciding the Vermont automobile policy issued by Farm Family to its named insureds was in full force and effect and provided insurance coverage on the vehicle driven by the named insureds’ son at the time of the accident. Farm Family further contends that the court erred by failing to conclude the Vermont policy had effectively ceased or terminated in December 2018, and erred in concluding North Dakota law, rather than Vermont law or alternatively Montana law, applied to the determination of whether the Vermont policy provided coverage.


Briefs

Filing Date Description
07/26/2022 APPELLANT BRIEF View
08/24/2022 APPELLEE BRIEF (Nodak Ins. Co.) View
09/07/2022 REPLY BRIEF View

Counsel

Party Type Name
APPELLANT PRIVATE PRACTICE Joseph Michael Barnett - 07951
APPELLANT PRIVATE PRACTICE Not Licensed in ND - 00002
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Austin Theodore Lafferty - 07833
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Scott Kenneth Porsborg - 04904

(Note: Attachments may not be available for recently filed cases and/or confidential documents.)

Seq. # Filing Date Description Attachment
1 04/20/2022 NOTICE OF APPEAL : 04/20/2022
2 04/20/2022 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT : 04/27/2022
3 04/25/2022 Rec'd $125.00 Filing Fee
4 04/26/2022 Updated Affidavit from Klay C. Ahrens for pro hac vice appearance
5 04/27/2022 NOT. OF FILING NOT. OF APPEAL AND PROOF OF SERV.
6 04/27/2022 Notice Served on Joseph M. Barnett & Klay C. Ahrens, Scott K. Porsborg & Austin T. Lafferty
7 04/27/2022 Paul R. Sanderson & William J. Behrmann, Charles L. Neff, H. Patrick Weir Jordan B. Weir and
8 04/27/2022 Mackenzie L. Hertz
9 05/10/2022 ELEC. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MAY 9, 2022 (ENTRY NOS.1-101)
10 06/16/2022 All Transcripts Filed in Record
11 06/20/2022 1ST ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED JUNE 17, 2022(ENTRY NOS. 102-106)
12 07/26/2022 APPELLANT BRIEF View
13 07/26/2022 Oral Argument Request by Appellant
14 07/29/2022 Rec'd 3 copies of ATB back from CD
15 08/24/2022 APPELLEE BRIEF (Nodak Ins. Co.) View
16 08/24/2022 Oral Argument Request by Appellee (Nodak Ins. Co.)
17 08/25/2022 Rec'd 3 copies of AEB (Nodak Ins. Co.)
18 09/07/2022 REPLY BRIEF View
19 09/09/2022 Rec'd 3 copies of RYB back from CD
20 09/12/2022 Rec'd Notice that Mt. West Farm Bureau Mutual Ins. Co. and Samuel Hamilton not participating
21 09/21/2022 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
22 10/03/2022 APPEARANCES: Joseph M. Barnett & Klay C. Ahrens, Scott K. Porsborg & Austin T. Lafferty
23 10/03/2022 ARGUED: Klay C. Ahrens and Scott K. Porsborg
24 10/03/2022 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST