Kipling v State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

Kipling sued state Farm for underinsured motorist benefits under four policies issued to the owner of the company car Kipling was in when she was injured in an automobile accident. The district court ruled Colorado law applied and a jury returned a verdict for Kipling. The panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings. It first held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying State Farm’s Rule 59(e) motion as State Farm could have raised the issue of whether it prevailed under Colorado law in earlier motions and thus the argument was untimely. The panel held the district erred in applying tort conflict of law rules because the claim for benefits arises in contract and the case law is apparently unanimous throughout the country that contract choice of laws apply in automobile insurance cases. The case was remanded to allow the district court to apply the correct principals in the first instance.

In re Mallo (Mallo v Internal Revenue Service)

As part of their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, Mallo sought to discharge taxes set out in late field 1040 returns. The district court ultimately concluded late filed returns do not qualify for discharge and the panel affirmed. It held that under the plain language of 11 USC 523(a)(*), only returns that meet filing requirements are returns for purposes of the discharge and the tax code sets an April 15 deadline with only a minor exception for returns prepared by the department  and the 1040s here missed the deadline by several years. The panel rejected the IRS position that assessment make the tax debt due as the tax debt is created by the code not the administrative act of assessing.