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Appeals court reverses, finds judgment on pleadings for insurer

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An Orange Circuit Court judge erred when he failed to approve an insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, and the Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the case remanded and such a ruling entered.

On interlocutory appeal, the panel ordered judgment on the pleadings in favor of the insurer in Consolidated Insurance Company v. National Water Services LLC,  59A05-1212-PL-632. National Water sued CIC in an attempt to recover $497,500 under a policy for dishonest employees.

NWS sought to recover after it had sued a former employee, David Arnold, claiming that he had misappropriated $1,178,054 from the company. Arnold removed the suit to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in New Albany. Arnold said the accusations were false, and he filed a counterclaim of libel and defamation against NWS.

The water company settled and released Arnold, who agreed to pay NWS a sum of $30,000, according to the record. But settling with Arnold voided the insurer’s coverage, and CIC therefore is entitled to judgment on the pleadings, the panel held.

“NWS settled with Arnold and, in so doing, executed the Release which released Arnold ‘for all claims which [NWS] has or could have asserted, known and unknown, arising out of the employment of Arnold by NWS both as an employee and an independent contractor,’” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel.

“This Release ‘after loss’ destroyed CIC’s right of subrogation and was a breach of contract on NWS’s part, therefore discharging CIC from obligation under the Policy to provide coverage. Accordingly, we conclude that the court erred when it denied CIC’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.”

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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