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Justices to answer whether fund can pursue claim against an insurer

July 7, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted a certified question from a federal court in northern Indiana in a case filed by the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund against a professional liability insurance provider involving claims against former doctor Mark Weinberger.

The question the justices must answer is: “Does Indiana law allow the Patient’s Compensation Fund to pursue a claim against an insurer for the insurer’s breach of its duty of good faith to its insured, through the doctrine of equitable subrogation?”

In its complaint, the IPCF alleges that The Medical Assurance Company Inc. failed to settle claims against Weinberger and the entities he owned and engaged in acts or omissions that were detrimental to Weinberger and those entities as well as the fund. More than 350 medical malpractice claims have been lodged against the former ear, nose and throat doctor, accusing him of performing unnecessary surgeries. The Indiana Patient Compensation Fund has had to pay out on some of the judgments reached against Weinberger.

Weinberger was sanctioned in September 2012 for not cooperating with Medical Assurance. Weinberger repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment during depositions, refusing to answer questions. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to multiple counts of health care benefit fraud and was sentenced to 84 months in prison.

Briefs from both parties regarding the certified question must be filed by July 28.

 

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