Submitted on Briefs: July 11, 2018
FROM: District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, In and
For the County of Missoula, Cause No. DV-16-1053 Honorable
Robert L. Deschamps, III, Presiding Judge
Appellant: Lon J. Dale, Milodragovich, Dale &
Steinbrenner, P.C., Missoula, Montana
Appellee: William J. Mattix, Crowley Fleck PLLP, Billings,
Jamie Cramer (Cramer) appeals the entry of summary judgment
in her declaratory action regarding underinsured motorist
coverage (UIM) in favor of Defendant Farmers Insurance
Exchange (Farmers), by the Fourth Judicial District Court,
Missoula County. We reverse in part, affirm in part, and
remand for further proceedings, addressing the following
1. Did the District Court err by holding Farmers could
offset its UIM obligation to Cramer dollar-for-dollar with
GEICO's entire UIM payment?
2. Did the District Court err by holding the
non-duplication clause in Farmers' policy is unambiguous
and does not violate the reasonable expectations
3. Is Cramer entitled to attorney fees?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Cramer was one of five passengers in a vehicle hit by an
at-fault vehicle. Cramer stipulated that the total personal
damages she sustained in that accident was $75, 686.81. She
was apportioned $27, 000 of the tortfeasor's liability
coverage limits for her bodily injury claims, as other
passengers also sustained injuries, and thus the tortfeasor
was underinsured by $48, 686.81 as to Cramer's damages.
The vehicle in which Cramer was a passenger was insured by
GEICO. GEICO paid Cramer its individual UIM coverage limit of
$25, 000. Cramer carried personal vehicle coverage with
Farmers, including medical payment (MedPay) coverage with a
$100, 000 limit, and UIM coverage with a $50, 000 individual
limit. Farmers paid Cramer $21, 186.81 under her MedPay
coverage. Thus, from these sources, Cramer received payments
of $73, 186.81, or $2, 500 less than her total stipulated
Cramer made a claim under her UIM coverage with Farmers, and
two disputes arose that led Cramer to file this declaratory
action. First, the parties disagreed regarding how much of
the $25, 000 GEICO UIM payment Farmers could offset against
its own UIM obligation to Cramer. Farmers' UIM coverage
in Cramer's policy contained the following provisions:
We will pay all sums which an insured person
is legally entitled to recover as damages
from the owner or operator of an UNDERinsured motor
vehicle because of bodily injury
sustained by the insured person.
. . .
2. The amount of UNDERinsured Motorist Coverage we will pay
shall be reduced by the amount of any other bodily
injury coverage available to any party held to be
liable for the accident.
3. If any other collectible insurance applies to a loss
covered by this part, we will pay only our share. Our share
is the proportion that our limits of liability bear to the
total of all applicable limits.
(Emphasis in original.) Likewise, the GEICO policy had a
similar "other insurance" provision governing its