Demaray v. De Smet Farm Mutual Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Appellees Floyd Demaray and James Hagemann were sued for repeated tortious activity in discharging of pollutants into lakes and streams of a nearby property. Appellees, who owned separate but identical insurance policies with De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance, notified De Smet of the lawsuit. De Smet declined defense of the suit, asserting it owed no duty to defend under the insurance contract. Appellees obtained their own defense counsel and defended the matter through trial, where a jury ruled in their favor. Appellees then sued De Smet, alleging that the company breached its duty to defend them in the previous lawsuit and seeking indemnification for all costs and fees incurred as a result. The trial court granted Appellees' motion for summary judgment, holding that De Smet owed Appellees a duty to defend because the alleged claim, if true, fell within policy coverage. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the policy language was unambiguous and the complaint asserted no claim that would arguably invoke coverage. Remanded with directions to grant summary judgment for De Smet.