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Justices take legal-malpractice insurance case

November 17, 2010


The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to a case in which a legal professional liability insurer claimed it didn’t receive actual notice of claims against the attorney, so the former clients couldn’t collect under the plan.

On Nov. 10, the justices took Michael Ashby, et al. v. C. Bruce Davidson Jr., No. 49S04-1011-CV-635. The Bar Plan intervened in complaints filed by clients of the attorney for legal malpractice, claiming because C. Bruce Davidson Jr. didn’t notify the insurer of the claims that he didn’t help with in the investigation. Bar Plan also claimed that because there can be no recovery in the underlying suit, the insurer should be granted summary judgment.

The insurer issued a policy to Davidson, who while that plan was in effect abandoned his law practice and robbed numerous banks in multiple states. He is now disbarred and in prison.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and ruled Paint Shuttle Inc. v. Continental Casualty Co., 733 N.E.2d 513 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), didn’t support the insurer’s arguments, and that the actual notice Bar Plan received from the clients was proper. The appellate court remanded for further proceedings.

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