The South Dakota Supreme Court handed down a favorable decision in Rumpza v. Donalar Enterprises and Stockholm Farm Mutual Ins. Co., 1998 S.D. 79, 581 N.W.2d 517 (Rumpza II). The decision was another step in an insurance dispute we had been pursuing for five years, and which had been previously considered by the Supreme Court, resulting in a decision expanding the law in South Dakota concerning insurance agents’ liability for professional negligence. Rumpza v. Larsen and Stockholm Farm Mutual Ins. Co., 1996 S.D. 87, 551 N.W.2d 810 (Rumpza I). In Rumpza II, the Supreme Court, for one of the first times, found an ambiguity in an insurance contract, and ambiguities are to be construed against the insurance company under longstanding legal precedent.
The Trial Court had dismissed our action on summary judgment, and in both instances the Supreme Court reversed the Trial Court’s decisions and sent the matter back for trial. One week after Rumpza II was handed down, Stockholm Insurance settled the matter by paying the entire claim, five years’ of accumulated pre-judgment interest, all of the attorney’s fees that had been incurred, and damages for its bad faith conduct.