Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State Farm Mutual Automobile
Reliance Insurance Company,
National Casualty Insurance Company,
Filed July 7, 1998
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 97-10178
Logan N. Foreman III, 701 Fourth Ave. S., Ste. 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for respondent Bonner)
R. Gregory Stephens, Katherine A. McBride, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., 4200 Multifoods Tower, 33 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for State Farm)
Scott R. Drawe, Stich, Angell, Kreidler, Brownson & Ballou, P.A., The Crossings, Ste. 120, 240 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for National Casualty)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.*
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
In this action for determination of no-fault benefits, the trial court certified the question of whether the injuries sustained by the insured arose out of the use of a motor vehicle as required under Minn. Stat. § 65B.44, subd. 1 (1996). We dismiss the appeal because we conclude that the question was not proper for certification.
Do the injuries sustained in this incident arise out of the use of a motor vehicle as required under Minn. Stat. § 65B.44, subd. 1, to establish a right to no-fault basic economic loss benefits?
As a preliminary matter, this court must determine whether the question was proper for certification: "[T]he standard for a certified question * * * must be strictly followed." Massie v. City of Duluth, 425 N.W.2d 858, 860 (Minn. App. 1988), review denied (Minn. Sept. 16, 1988). Where the trial court errs in certifying a question, the appellate court must dismiss the appeal. See Proprietor's Ins. Co. v. Cohen, 451 N.W.2d 904, 906 (Minn. App. 1990) (appellate court dismissed appeal where certified question not important and doubtful). A question certified as "important and doubtful" must be from an order denying a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or an order denying summary judgment. Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(h). "An issue is important if its resolution will have statewide impact. A doubtful issue is an issue on which there is no controlling precedent." Foley v. Honeywell, Inc., 488 N.W.2d 268, 270 (Minn. 1992) (citations omitted).
We conclude that the issue in this case is not proper for certification. First, Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 103.03(h) allows certification from either an order denying a motion to dismiss or an order denying a motion for summary judgment. As the trial court granted summary judgment to respondent, the question should not have been certified. Second, the certified question is not important and doubtful. An answer to the question would not have statewide impact because it is dependent on specific facts; the only question is how the law applies to "the injuries sustained in this incident." Further, both sides rely on several cases that are arguably on point. The question is only doubtful in a narrower sense--in how existing law applies to the specific facts. For these reasons, we dismiss this appeal.