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Attorneys

Beth A. Jenson Prouty
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Associate
Co-Chair, Insurance Coverage Practice Group
phone 612 375-5992 (Direct Dial)
800 916-9262 (Toll-free)
fax 612 339-7655
email Email Me
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Beth Jenson Prouty joined Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A. as an Associate in 2009. In 2011, Beth became the co-chair of the Insurance Coverage Group and has focused her practice on providing coverage opinions and prosecuting and defending declaratory judgment actions on behalf of insurers. Beth's other areas of practice are wide-ranging and include appellate litigation, automobile litigation, construction law, premises liability law, product liability law, and general liability litigation.

Beth is a zealous written and oral advocate for clients and works diligently to clearly convey the law and her client's positions to the court.

Prior to joining the firm, Beth clerked for the Honorable Alan C. Page, Helen M. Meyer, and Christopher J. Dietzen on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

In addition to graduating near the top of her law school class, Beth was also a participant in, and later Managing Director of, the International Moot Court during her law school tenure.

Areas of Practice:
  • Appellate Litigation
  • Automobile Law
  • Business Disputes
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Commercial Transportation
  • Construction Law
  • Fire Litigation
  • Insurance Fraud
  • General Liability
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Premises Liability
Bar Admissions:
  • Minnesota, 2008
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 2010
  • Eighth Circuit, 2011
Education:
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2008 J.D. Honors: Magna Cum Laude
  • Metropolitan State University, 2004 B.S. Honors: Graduate
  • Normandale Community College, 2002 A.A., A.A.S. Honors: Graduate
Honors and Awards:
  • Rising Star, Minnesota Law & Politics, 2012 to 2014
Published Works:
  • Drafted update to Partial Releases: Participation Agreement, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association Deskbook, 2011
  • Drafted update to MSBA Appellate Practice Group resource: Behind the Scenes at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court, 2010
  • The Nonmoving Party's Evidentiary Burden At Summary Judgment: Substantial evidence? Sufficient evidence? Does it matter?, Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Winter, 2010

Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • "The Risk of Reformation: Can you rely on your policy language?" "Appellate Update," Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Commercial Insurance Coverage Seminar, May 2014
  • "Case Law Update," "Privacy: Is it "Protected" Under Coverage B?," Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Commercial Insurance Coverage Seminar, May 2013
  • "A Coverage Dream - or Nightmare: When Does an "Occurrence" Occur?" Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., 2012 Minnesota Commercial Insurance Seminar, May 2012
  • "Case Law Update," Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Minnesota Commercial Insurance Seminar, May 2012
  • "The Art of Effective Motion Practice," Minnesota State Bar Association, March 2012
  • "Minnesota Case Law Update," Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Minnesota Automobile Law Seminar, September 2011
  • "Recognizing, Avoiding, and Handling First-Party Bad Faith," Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Minnesota Commercial General Liability Insurance Coverage Seminar, May 2011

Representative Cases Assisted On:

Appellate Cases:

Grinnell Mut. Reinsurance Co. v. Schwieger, 685 F.3d 697 (8th Cir. 2012).  On appeal, the Eighth Circuit held in favor of the insurer and reversed the Federal District of Minnesota's grant of summary judgment to insured.  The Eighth Circuit held that a custom-farming endorsement that restored coverage excluded by the custom-farming exclusion – but stated that all other terms and provisions in the policy applied – did not provide coverage for property damage to respondent's cattle because such damage was excluded by a separate exclusion for property in the care, custody, or control of the insured.

Scherber v. Nor-Son, Inc., A11-962, 2012 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 275 (Minn. App. April 2, 2012). Court of Appeals affirmed district court grant of summary judgment to Nor-Son. Plaintiff was part of a construction crew composed of employees from several construction companies, including Nor-Son. He sustained estimated multi-million dollar injuries when injured at a construction site. Plaintiff applied for and obtained worker's compensation benefits. He then brought suit against Nor-Son to obtain additional funds. The Court held, as a matter of law, that Plaintiff was part of a joint enterprise with Nor-Son. Therefore, because plaintiff had accepted worker's compensation benefits, he could not bring a separate claim against Nor-Son.

Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Earthsoils, Inc., 812 N.W.2d 873, 875 (Minn. App. 2012), review denied (Minn. 2012). Court of Appeals reversed district court's denial of summary judgment to insurer.  In the case, the Ptaceks alleged that Earthsoils’ fertilizer failed to provide sufficient nitrogen to their corn crop, causing it to produce less than the anticipated yield. But the Ptaceks did not allege that the fertilizer damaged or otherwise rendered unmarketable the corn cobs actually produced. Nor did they allege that Earthsoils’ fertilizer physically damaged the corn plants by causing them to produce less than they would have without any fertilizer. The only injury alleged was failure to achieve anticipated crop yield. The Court of Appeals held that loss of anticipated crop yield is not covered by Farm Bureau’s policy because it is not property damage. “[F]ailure to achieve anticipated crop yield is not itself physical injury to tangible property; it is merely injury to an intangible economic interest.”

Gaza Beef v. Grinnell Mut. Reinsurance Co., No. A11-444, 2011 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 794 (Minn. App. Aug. 22, 2011). Court of Appeals reversed district court's denial of summary judgment to insurer. Court of Appeals held that a custom-farming endorsement that restored coverage excluded by the custom-farming exclusion – but stated that all other terms and provisions in the policy applied – did not provide provided coverage for property damage to respondent's cattle because such damage was excluded by a separate exclusion for property in the care, custody, or control of the insured.

McColley v. Am. States Preferred Ins. Co., No. A10-1310, 2011 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 513 (Minn. App. May 23, 2011). Court of Appeals affirmed district court grant of summary judgment to insurer. AppliedEntzion v. Illinois Farmers Insurance, Company, 675 N.W. 2d 925 (Minn. App. 2004), to hold that the six-year limitations period in Minnesota Statutes § 541.05, subd. 1(1), applies to an insured's action disputing denial of no-fault benefits.

Insurance Coverage Cases:

Vogel v. Burton Insurance Agency, Inc., Dakota County District Court (2010). Granted Summary Judgment In an agent errors and omissions case, the Court held, as a matter of law, that an insurance agent who was requested to procure "full replacement coverage" for an insured did not have a duty to value the insured buildings when obtaining coverage. Such duty to value the property only arose if the agent affirmatively agreed to appraise the property.

Premises Liability Cases:

McGerr v. Israelson, Hennepin County District Court (2011). Granted partial Summary Judgment. Plaintiff, a guest to defendant's property, was injured by an allegedly illegal firework ignited by another guest to the property. Plaintiff argued that defendant was strictly liable and negligent for allowing an ultrahazardous activity on his property. On a question of first impression to Minnesota courts, the Court dismissed the strict liability claim as a matter of law, holding that defendant could not be strictly liable for the conduct of another on his property.

Estate of Shrimatie Ramoutar-Hedberg v. Frank(2011), Wright County District Court. Granted Summary Judgment Plaintiff sued a minor for providing alcohol to another minor who subsequently drove while intoxicated and caused death and serious injury to others. The estate sued the minor who had provided alcohol to the minor involved in the collision. The Court held that the Civil Damages Act preempts the field of remedies against individuals who illegally provide alcohol to minors. Therefore, as a matter of law, no civil cause of action existed against a minor who provided – or even allegedly may have sold – alcohol to another minor. There was no evidence that could support a civil conspiracy claim because such claim requires a valid underlying cause of action.

Anderson v. Martineau, Chisago County District Court (2010). Granted Summary Judgment Plaintiff, a minor, illegally drank alcohol while a guest at the minor defendant's home. Then Plaintiff was severely injured while wrestling with another intoxicated minor in the front yard of defendant's home. Plaintiff alleged that defendant, as the individual in control of the premises, had a duty to warn him that it was dangerous to wrestle while intoxicated. The Court held, as a matter of law, that a landowner has no duty to warn a guest of a dangerous condition on the premises that is created by a guest.

Automobile:

Miernicki v. Brown,St. Louis County District Court (2010). Granted Summary Judgment Defendant Laurila left car keys in a vehicle parked in the yard of his rural home. The vehicle was stolen and became stuck in a ditch. While the thief attempted to remove the vehicle from the ditch, it caught fire, damaging trees on Plaintiff's Christmas tree farm. The Court held, as a matter of law, that Defendant was not responsible for the thief's negligence. No evidence of special circumstances existed that should have alerted Laurila that the actions of the thief were reasonably foreseeable.

General Liability:

Abbott v. Strain et. al., Olmsted County District Court (2011). Granted Summary Judgment Plaintiff and Defendant were participating in the "Cruise" motorcycle event, a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. To participate, they both signed an Agreement to release Ronald McDonald House. Plaintiff and Defendant had fallen behind the motorcycles parade. Defendant decided to drive his motorcycle westbound in the eastbound lane, which had been shut down because of the parade, so that he could rejoin the parade. The motorcycle was struck by a vehicle turning left from the eastbound lane. Plaintiff was thrown from the motorcycle and injured. She sued Defendant, who then brought a third party claim for contribution and indemnity against Ronald McDonald House. The Court granted Ronald McDonald House's motion for summary judgment. First, it held that, as a matter of law, the exculpatory clause in the Release Agreement was enforceable. Second, there could be no common liability between Defendant and Ronald McDonald House to Plaintiff because Plaintiff had waived any claim against Ronald McDonald House. Therefore, Defendant had no legal basis to seek contribution from Ronald McDonald House. Finally, Defendant had no legal basis to seek indemnity because he was alleged to be at fault in the accident.

Professional Associations and Memberships:
  • Dakota County Library Board, Member
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society