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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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