may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State Farm Insurance Co., an Illinois corporation,
Filed June 3, 1997
Reversed and remanded
Chisago County District Court
File No. C5-95-1041
R. D. Blanchard, Richard L. Pemberton, Jr., Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., 4200 Multifoods Tower, 33 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent)
Bradley D. Hauswirth, Stringer & Rohleder, Ltd., 1200 Norwest Center Tower, 55 East Fifth Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.
Appellant Randy Campeau, uninsured, left his vehicle and was struck by one insured by respondent insurance company. Respondent was awarded summary judgment because the trial court determined that no coverage was available. Because we find that there is a material fact issue as to whether appellant's vehicle was an involved vehicle, we reverse and remand.
Campeau claims that when Darwin left, he revved his engine and scared all the deer away. Campeau got back into his vehicle, drove down the road after Darwin's vehicle, passed him, and stopped 10-30 feet ahead of Darwin's vehicle. Campeau intended to confront Darwin about scaring the deer, then return to his vehicle to go home or continue hunting. Campeau turned off his engine, left the keys in the ignition, and approached Darwin's vehicle on foot. As Campeau approached Darwin's moving vehicle, he was struck by its mirror. Darwin did not stop and Campeau immediately returned to his own vehicle.
At the time of the accident, Campeau did not have any automobile insurance coverage; Darwin had liability and no-fault coverage with State Farm. State Farm denied no-fault benefits and Campeau brought suit.
The parties submitted a "stipulation of facts" for the district court's consideration. State Farm moved for summary judgment arguing that because Campeau was a driver or occupant of his own vehicle at the time of the accident, State Farm was not required to pay no-fault benefits under the no-fault statute. Because the district court determined that Campeau only momentarily exited his vehicle and was still a driver when the accident occurred, it granted State Farm's summary judgment motion.
Based on the parties' briefs submitted for appeal, it appeared initially that the issue before this court was whether the trial court erred when it determined that Campeau was "occupying" his vehicle at the time of the accident. At oral argument, however, it became clear that the determinative issue was not one of "occupying," but rather was whether Campeau's vehicle was an "involved" vehicle under the statute. If Campeau's vehicle was, in fact, involved in the incident, the no-fault statutes would prevent him from recovering from State Farm.
In awarding summary judgment to State Farm, the trial court made a finding that "[appellant] overtook [respondent] in the pickup and stopped his vehicle 10-30 feet in front of [respondent's], forcing [respondent] to also stop." (Emphasis added.) The trial court subsequently concluded that
[appellant] had a continuing relationship with his vehicle. * * * In light of the cases as applied to the no-fault statute, the court finds that [appellant] maintained his "driver" status * * *. [Respondent's] motion for summary judgment is granted as [appellant] is considered a "driver" under Minn. Stat. § 65B.46 et seq. and shall recover no-fault benefits under his own insurance carrier.
If the parties' stipulation of facts had, indeed, contained a provision that Campeau forced Darwin to stop and Campeau's vehicle was "involved" in the incident, we could affirm the trial court. Its analysis of the applicable law is correct.
While the parties made a commendable effort to enter a stipulation of facts, we searched in vain attempting to locate language addressing the material fact issue present here. State Farm argues that Campeau's vehicle was "involved" in this incident; Campeau argues that he had exited his vehicle and was neither occupying it at the time of the incident nor in a continuing relationship with it. The trial court resolved that issue in favor of State Farm, but it did so inappropriately in the context of a summary judgment motion. Because there is a material fact issue present, we must remand for trial.
Reversed and remanded.
[ ]1To the extent that the question of Campeau's occupancy of his vehicle at the time of the incident still lingers, we hold that he was not occupying. See Allied Mut. Ins. Co. v. Western Nat. Mut. Ins. Co., 552 N.W.2d 561, 563-64 (Minn. 1996) (holding that a person who is not actually in a vehicle, or at least in the act of getting in or out of a vehicle, is not "occupying" the vehicle). While ordinarily an injured person will attempt to show that he or she was occupying the vehicle in order to qualify for coverage under that vehicle's insurance, in this case Campeau argues nonoccupancy in order to qualify for coverage under State Farm's insurance. While we have determined that Campeau was not occupying his vehicle, the question of whether his vehicle was an involved vehicle remains to be answered.
[ ]2Minn. Stat. § 65B.49, subd. 3a(5) (1992) provides in relevant part:
If at the time of the accident the injured person is occupying a motor vehicle, the limit of liability for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages available to the injured person is the limit specified for that motor vehicle.
Minn. Stat. § 65B.47, subd. 4(c) (1992) provides:
The security for payment of basic economic loss benefits applicable to injury to a person not otherwise covered who is not the driver or other occupant of an involved motor vehicle is the security covering any involved motor vehicle.
[ ]3State Farm cites Balderrama v. Milbank Mut. Ins. Co., 324 N.W.2d 355 (Minn. 1982), for the proposition that Campeau was not entitled to no-fault coverage under its policy because Campeau maintained his driver status and is therefore not entitled to insurance under another's policy. Balderrama holds that persons may retain their driver status if they park their vehicles in a manner which causes an unreasonable risk of injury. Id. at 357-58.