State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Deerfield Hutterian Brethren, Inc. et al
ORDER denying 8 Motion for Default Judgment. Signed by U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann on 03/30/2017. (SAC)
MAR 30 2017
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE
DEERFIELD HUTTERIAN BRETHREN INC.
and JANOS STAHL,
The plaintiff has moved for default judgment pursuant to the plaintiffs affidavit and
application for default judgment. The Court, having examined the proofs and being fully
advised, finds this matter to be untimely. At this time, the plaintiff has a conflict of interest in
defending Janos Stahl in the wrongful death action and simultaneously seeking a declaratory
judgment that is adverse to his interests. "A conflict of interest exists when the injured person's
claim against the insured is such that it could be sustained on different grounds, one of which is
within the insurer's obligation to indemnify and another of which is not." St. Paul Fire & Marine
Ins. Co. v. Engelmann, 639 N.W.2d 192, 200 (S.D. 2002). In the plaintiffs complaint, it asserts
that Janos Stahl did not have the consent of Deerfield Colony to drive the 2000 GMC Jimmy off
its property on February 9, 2014. There is a conflict of interest because the jury in the wrongful
death action will decide the issue of whether Janos had implied permission to drive the 2000
GMC Jimmy on public roads that night. The answer to such question will be helpful in
determining whether the automobile accident is covered by the insurance policy. "By reserving
the noncoverage issue, a conflict of interest will be avoided and the interests of the insured and
the insurer in defending against the injured claimant will be identical." Id. Therefore, the Court
finds the issue of coverage is not yet fit for adjudication, and that there will be little hardship to
the parties in withholding court consideration, as this matter lacks ripeness.
IT IS ORDERED:
1. Plaintiffs motion for default judgment, Doc. 8, is denied.
2. Plaintiffs case is dismissed without prejudice.
DATED this 30th day of March, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
CHARLES B. KORNMANN
United States District Judge
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