Supreme Court Digest: Feb. 12, 2020.


Byline: Minnesota Lawyer



Underinsured Motorist Benefits

The question presented in this case is whether a person injured in a car accident can recover additional primary underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits under a policy that provides coverage for a vehicle that was not involved in the accident. Appellant was injured while she was driving a vehicle, and she sought additional primary UIM benefits under an insurance policy that covered a separate vehicle. Respondent insured both vehicles. The District Court held that appellant was not entitled to primary UIM benefits under the separate vehicle's policy, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Court of Appeals held that, because the statutory priority scheme in Minn. Stat. 65B.49, subd. 3a(5), requires an injured person to look to the policy covering the vehicle she occupied at the time of the accident for primary UIM benefits, the District Court properly granted summary judgment on the injured party's claim for additional primary UIM benefits under a policy that covered a vehicle that was not involved in the accident. Affirmed.

A18-1204 Visser v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (Court of Appeals)


Charter Amendments

In 2015, respondent and cross appellant City of Bloomington changed from a system of open trash collection to a system of organized collection. A group of residents opposed this change and attempted, through an amendment to the city charter, to require that voters pre-approve a change in the method of trash collection. The city refused to put the proposed charter amendment on the ballot, reasoning that it: (1) was preempted by state law, (2) was an attempt to exercise the voter referendum power through an improper means, and (3) was manifestly unconstitutional as a violation of the Contract Clauses of the United States and Minnesota Constitutions. In a prior opinion, the Supreme Court held that the proposed amendment was not preempted by state law. On remand to the Court of Appeals for a decision on whether the proposed amendment would violate the Contract Clauses and whether it was, in fact, an improper referendum, the court held that the proposed charter amendment was not manifestly unconstitutional, but determined that it was an improper referendum.

The Supreme Court held that (1) a proposed amendment to a city charter is not improper when the amendment merely modifies the process by which a city council may change the type of trash collection, and...

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