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Insurance dispute divides Court of Appeals

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A split Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s finding that a landlord was not covered by the tenant’s insurance policy.

After pipes in a warehouse sprinkler system burst, the tenant’s insurance company, Erie Insurance Exchange filed a subrogation lawsuit against the building’s owner Rangeline LLC.

The trial court concluded Erie did not owe Rangeline a defense or indemnity in the underlying litigation.

On appeal, Rangeline argued that the additional insured endorsement in the policy provided coverage. Moreover, Rangeline asserted the A/I Endorsement language did not restrict coverage to only claims for which the landlord would have liability due to the actions of the tenant but instead extended a broader grant of coverage for any liability arising out of the leased premises.

Erie countered no coverage existed under the A/I Endorsement because the sprinkler system was not part of the premises leased to the tenant. Erie cited the Indiana Administrative Code in claiming that Rangeline retained control of the sprinkler system.

Pointing to its decision in Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Mich. Mut. Ins. Co., 891 N.E.2d 99 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), the Court of Appeals found a significant connection between the accident and the leased premises.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded in Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina and 500 Rangeline Road, LLC v. Erie Insurace Exchange, Welch & Wilson Properties, LLC d/b/a Hammons Storage, Allianz Global Risks U.S. Insurance Company, 73A01-1307-PL-311.

Judge Margret Robb dissented, agreeing with the trial court that the A/I Endorsement of the policy does not provide coverage for Rangeline in the underlying litigation.

 

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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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