This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.  480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


Independent School District No. 709, Duluth,


State of Minnesota, by Board of Trustees of
the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities,
on behalf of Lake Superior College:  a Community
and Technical College at Duluth, Intervenor,


Scottsdale Insurance Company,

Filed August 13, 1996
Huspeni, Judge

 St. Louis County District Court
File No. C494601494

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, Erica Jacobson, Asst. 
Attorney General, 1200 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, 
MN 55101 (for Appellant State)

Mark L. Knutson, Bye Boyd Agnew, Ltd., 200 Sellwood Bldg., 
202 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN  55802 (for Respondent 
Independent School District No. 709)

Joseph B. Marshall, Douglas J. Schiltz, Marshall & Associates, 
P.A., 9501 Lexington Ave. N., Circle Pines, MN 55014 (for 
Respondent Scottsdale Insurance Company)
	Considered and decided by Huspeni, Presiding Judge, 
Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Foley, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

	Appellant insured claimed that respondent insurer had a 
duty to indemnify and defend.  Respondent was awarded summary 
judgment dismissing the claims.  Because we conclude that the 
occurrence for which appellant claimed indemnification and 
defense was specifically excluded from coverage, we affirm.


	The Duluth Area Vocational Technical Institute,  then 
under the authority of Independent School District 709 (ISD 709), 
offered a Forest Harvesting Program for adult students. They 
learned the skills necessary for the logging industry by actually 
harvesting trees; any profit from the sale of the wood went to the 
	On January 25, 1986, ISD 709 received a binder  from 
respondent Scottsdale Insurance Company, its insurer.  In the blank 
marked "Description of Operation" were typed the words "General 
liability - Forest Harvesting Program at Duluth Area Vocational 
Technical Institute."  In the blank marked "Special 
Conditions/Other Coverages" were typed the words "ABSOLUTE 
PARTICIPANT'S EXCLUSION Endorsement applies to Forest 
Harvesting Students." 
	ISD 709 later received the policy from Scottsdale; its 
effective dates were 1-25-86 to 1-25-87.  The "Named Insured" 
was identified as a school district; the "Business of the Named 
Insured" was listed as "Logging & Lumbering."  Under 
"Description of Hazards" the words "Logging & Lumbering" 
appear in the blanks labelled "Premises- Operations" and 
"Completed Operations"; no other hazards are listed.  On a page 
marked "Special Purpose Endorsement," there is an X in the box 
before "Excluding Participants and Contestants."  This 
endorsement reads:
This insurance excludes:

(1)	Bodily injury, sickness, or disease including 
death at anytime resulting therefrom, 
sustained by any person while:

	(a)	Participating in any activities, on 
behalf of the named insured (paid or 

	(b)	Practicing for or participating in 
contest or exhibition sponsored by the 
insured; or to immediate medical and 
surgical relief to any person so injured. 

	Cynthia Adams, a student participating in the Forest 
Harvesting Program, was injured on January 30, 1986.  She sued 
ISD 709 in December 1987, alleging negligent instruction and 
supervision.  Defense of the lawsuit was tendered to Scottsdale, 
which retained a Duluth law firm.  Scottsdale withdrew from 
defense on the grounds that there was no coverage in January 
1992.  ISD 709 did not challenge the withdrawal and continued to 
be represented at its own expense by the law firm.
	Following a December 1993 trial and subsequent 
proceedings, ISD 709's liability (including interest) was 
determined to be $184,405.  ISD 709 sought indemnification and 
the costs of defense from Scottsdale, which refused payment.  ISD 
709 brought a declaratory judgment action and moved for 
summary judgment. At the hearing, Scottsdale moved orally for 
summary judgment.  This motion was granted and ISD 709's 
complaint was dismissed.


	On an appeal from summary judgment, this court considers 
whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether 
the district court erred in its application of the law. State by Cooper 
v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn.1990).  "[T]he interpretation of 
insurance contract language is a question of law as applied to the 
facts presented."  Meister v. Western Nat'l Mut. Ins. Co., 479 
N.W.2d 372, 376 (Minn. 1992).  The issues presented here are 
therefore subject to de novo review.
	1.	The Plain Meaning of the Policy
	The terms of an insurance contract must be given their plain 
and ordinary meaning.  Columbia Heights Motors v. Allstate Ins. 
Co., 275 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Minn. 1979).  The policy special 
endorsement explicitly excludes coverage for injuries sustained by 
one who is "[p]articipating in any activities, on behalf of the 
named insured * * *." Appellant argues the presence of a conflict 
that must be construed against the insurer because the binder states 
Endorsement applies to Forest Harvesting Students" while the 
policy itself does not contain similar language.  We disagree.  The 
language in the binder specifies one application of the 
endorsement; it does not conflict with the language of the policy.  
A conflict cannot be read into a policy in order to construe it 
against the insurer; the policy must be construed as a whole.  
Henning Nelson Const. Co. v. Fireman's Fund Am. Life Ins. 
Co., 383 N.W.2d 645, 652 (Minn. 1986).  We conclude that the 
plain meaning of this policy is that students participating in the 
Forest Harvesting Program were excluded from coverage.
	Appellant argues that Adams was not excluded pursuant to 
the policy because she was not participating "on behalf of" ISD 
709 but on behalf of herself as a student.  It is undisputed that the 
proceeds of the logging and lumbering operation went to ISD 709: 
 Adams derived no financial benefit from the work she performed. 
 Therefore, appellant's argument that the construction of "on behalf 
of" defeats coverage is specious:  Adams's participation was on 
behalf of the ISD 709 Forest Harvesting Program.
	Appellant also contends that the district court erred in 
viewing ISD 709 as a business engaged in forest harvesting.  The 
policy, however, repeatedly names as the insured not ISD 709 
itself, but rather the ISD 709 Forest Harvesting Program; it also 
states that the entity insured was engaged in the business of 
logging and lumbering, not education, and that the hazard 
described in its premises operation was logging and lumbering.  
Insofar as this insurance policy was concerned, the ISD 709 Forest 
Harvesting Program was the insured, and the plain meaning of the 
policy excluded students from coverage. 
	2.	Ambiguity
	Appellant argues that the phrase "on behalf of" is 
ambiguous and therefore the policy must be construed against the 
insurer so as to provide coverage.  We disagree and find appellant's 
reliance on Safeco Ins. Co. v. Lindberg, 394 N.W.2d 146 (Minn. 
1986), to be misplaced.  The policy in Safeco was clearly 
The problem here, of course, is that the watercraft 
exclusion defies any commonsense interpretation; 
the word "renewal" is not used, and the words 
"policy," "term" and "period" are not always used 
with precision.
Safeco, 394 N.W.2d at 148.  Safeco is distinguishable because the 
policy provisions here, when read in their entirety, have no clearly 
ambiguous language.  The injured student was unquestionably 
engaged in an activity "on behalf of" the named insured Forest 
Harvesting Program.
	Appellant argues that the disagreement between itself and 
the district court as to the contract's meaning is ipso facto evidence 
of ambiguity.  Again, we disagree.  Language must be reasonably 
subject to more than one interpretation to be ambiguous.  
Reinsurance Ass'n of Minnesota v. Hanks, 539 N.W.2d 793, 796 
(Minn. 1995).  The phrases "participating in any activities, on 
behalf of the insured" in the policy and "ABSOLUTE 
PARTICIPANT'S EXCLUSION Endorsement applies to Forest 
Harvesting Students" in the binder do not conflict and are not 
reasonably subject to more than one interpretation.  We are 
unpersuaded by appellant's construction of the phrases to mean that 
only students acting as independent contractors or volunteer 
instructors are excluded from coverage.
	3.	Duty to Defend
	Appellant cites Brown v. State Auto. & Casualty 
Underwriters, 293 N.W.2d 822 (Minn. 1980), to argue that even if 
respondent had no obligation to indemnify, it nevertheless had an 
obligation to defend because at least part of Adams's action was 
arguably within the scope of coverage.  However, 
if the insurer has knowledge from facts dehors the 
Complaint that the acts giving rise to the suit are 
outside the coverage of the policy, there is no duty to 
Farmers & Merchants State Bank of Pierz v. St. Paul Fire & 
Marine Ins. Co., 309 Minn. 14, 18, 242 N.W.2d 840, 843 (1976).  
Here, Scottsdale knew that Adams was a student in the Forest 
Harvesting Program who was injured while participating in the 
program,  and that students were excluded from coverage.  There 
was no duty to defend. 
	Because we conclude that the plain meaning of the policy 
excludes students from coverage, we see no ambiguity and no duty 
to indemnify or to defend.


     * Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, 
serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI,  10.
      The Duluth Area Technical Vocational Institute is now 
known as the Lake Superior College.  The State of Minnesota 
brings this appeal on behalf of Lake Superior College because 
the State acquired the duties, responsibilities, and properties 
of the Minnesota technical colleges in July 1995.  ISD 709 
takes no part in the appeal, but says its interests are identical 
to those of the State.
      A binder is "A payment or written statement making an 
agreement legally binding until the completion of a formal 
contract, especially an insurance contract."  The American 
Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 187 (3rd ed. 1992).