Smith Jadin Johnson recently won another case at the Minnesota Supreme Court advancing policyholder’s rights. In Else v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., the policyholder recovered against his insurance company at trial, and then moved the court to apply Minnesota’s prejudgment interest statute to the judgment. The case involved an important question of whether a policyholder is entitled to prejudgment interest against his or her insurance company in excess of the policy’s stated limit. Both the District Court and Court of Appeals held that the policy’s coverage limit also acted as cap or limit on prejudgment interest.
Recognizing the importance of the issue, SJJ attorney Tim Johnson took the case on a pro-bono basis to the Minnesota Supreme Court. SJJ argued that prejudgment interest is not subject to the policy’s coverage limit, rather that it is a separate statutory right apart from the policy’s limits. The Minnesota Supreme Court agreed and reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision. Naturally, an insured who has to fight their insurance company for benefits should be entitled to interest on the wrongly withheld funds. This was an important victory to preserve policyholders rights to compensation in disputed insurance claims.