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COA to hear insurance, attorney fee cases

April 6, 2009

A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments Tuesday in Evansville in an insurance coverage case while another panel in Indianapolis will hear arguments in a case involving the division of attorney fees.

Judges Elaine Brown, Melissa May, and Patricia Riley travel to the University of Southern Indiana for arguments regarding a dispute over the scope of coverage of comprehensive general liability insurance policies issued to a construction company in Sheehan Construction Co., et al., v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 49A02-0805-CV-420. A class of plaintiffs alleged their homes sustained water damage because of faulty workmanship. Continental Casualty Co. provided insurance for general contractor Sheehan Construction and Indiana Insurance provided coverage for Somerville Construction, a subcontractor.

The insurers were awarded summary judgment on the grounds that damage naturally resulting from defective workmanship isn't an "accident" covered by the policies. The plaintiffs argued the insurance industry broadened the scope of its standard polices in 1986 to cover this type of damage. Arguments begin at 4 p.m. CDT in Carter Hall D, 8600 University Blvd., Evansville.

Judges Michael Barnes, Cale Bradford, and Edward Najam will hear arguments at 1:30 p.m. in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom in Nunn Law Office v. Peter H. Rosenthal, No. 49A05-0809-CV-523. Nunn Law Office appeals the trial court's award of $1,462.88 in attorney's fees arising out of Nunn's and appellee attorney Peter Rosenthal's representation of a client in a personal injury action. Nunn claims the trial court erred by failing to issue written findings of fact and conclusions pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 52 and in basing its award upon quantum meruit rather than on Nunn's contingency fee agreement with the client.

The argument will be webcast live and can be viewed by visiting http://www.in.gov/judiciary/appeals/ and clicking on the link under "Upcoming live webcasts" on the top right of the page.

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