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Appeals panel reverses judgment favoring insurer

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A trial court erred in granting summary judgment to an insurance company that argued a driver injured in a car crash could not collect on an underinsured motorist policy because she received payments from other sources in excess of her policy limits.

The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday reversed Porter Superior Judge Roger V. Bradford’s grant of summary judgment in Christine Anderson v. Indiana Insurance Company, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, 64A03-1309-CT-359. Anderson was injured when her car was struck by a motorist during the course of her employment.

She received more than $81,000 in worker’s compensation benefits and $25,000 from the other motorist’s insurer, but she had a policy with Indiana Insurance with an underinsured motorist coverage limit of $100,000.

Because she had received more than her coverage limit, Indiana Insurance refused to pay, and Bradford found for the insurer when Anderson sued.

The appeals panel turned to a recent ruling, Justice v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. (filed March 13, 2014), Ind. No. 49S02-1303-PL-221, to determine whether the policy was consistent with state statutes.

“Based upon Justice, we conclude that the trial court erred in finding that Anderson could not recover anything from Indiana Insurance. In other words, if (the underinsured motorist) had carried the required amount of liability insurance, depending on her total damages Anderson may have received $50,000 in addition to the $81,166.15, and the purpose of the  uninsured/underinsured motorist statute is to put her in that position,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court.

“In light of that statutory purpose, we conclude that Anderson may be entitled to recover the remaining $25,000 from Indiana Insurance depending on her total damages. … For the foregoing reasons, we reverse the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to Indiana Insurance and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
   
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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