Mike Hensley and Jeff Collins obtained summary judgment in a declaratory judgment/coverage litigation involving the choice of law (Minnesota or Arizona) and the stacking of Uninsured or Underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).
Mr. and Mrs. Plaintiff traveled to Arizona, from Minnesota, and were involved in a car/motorcycle collision. As they went through an intersection, a car turned in front of them causing the accident. Both Plaintiffs suffered severe injuries with the combined medical expenses exceeding a million dollars.
Plaintiff’s motorcycle insurer paid out $100,000 in UIM coverage for each Mr. and Mrs. Plaintiff. Plaintiffs sought to “stack” additional UM/UIM coverage from policies they had on other cars and motorhomes. The JSH client insurance companies denied they owed any UM/UIM coverage, contending Minnesota law applied and under Minnesota law they did not owe UM/UIM coverage on top of what was already covered. Plaintiffs then sued the carriers who insured their motorhome and auto seeking $250,000 for Mr. and Mrs. Plaintiff, under each of the two polices, for a total of $1 million.
One of the major issues to be decided by the Court was the choice of law. Plaintiffs argued that staying in their motorhome for multiple months made them Arizona residents, so Arizona law should apply. The JSH lawyers argued the Plaintiffs were not residents of Arizona and the choice of law analysis dictated that Minnesota law should apply in the “stacking” analysis. The Court agreed with JSH’s client’s position based upon the relevant facts in the context of the controlling Arizona case of Beckler v. State Farm.
The Court denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and granted JSH’s client’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment finding the Plaintiffs were not entitled to “stack” the UM/UIM coverage from their other vehicles, saving JSH’s client $1 million in additional UM/UIM payments.