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COA: insurer received actual notice from clients

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The insurance company that provided legal professional liability coverage for the attorney who abandoned his practice and went on a crime spree did receive actual notice of the attorney’s clients’ claims against the insurer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co. intervened in complaints filed by clients of C. Bruce Davidson Jr. for legal malpractice against the attorney. The Bar Plan issued a policy to Davidson effective from March 2003 to March 2004. In November of that year, Davidson abandoned his law practice without notice and went on a multi-state bank robbery crime spree. He was disbarred in 2004 and is now in federal prison.

Bar Plan argued in its motion for summary judgment that the fact Davidson didn’t notify the insurer of the claims or suits, that he failed to assist or cooperate in the investigation of the claims, and that coverage is moot because there could be no recovery in the underlying suits because recovery in such cases is precluded under the policy.

The trial court granted the motion, finding Paint Shuttle, Inc. v. Continental Casualty Co., 733 N.E.2d 513 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), applied and was dispositive.

The Court of Appeals concluded in Michael Ashby, et al. v. C. Bruce Davidson, Jr., No. 49A04-0910-CV-569, that Paint Shuttle didn’t support the insurer’s arguments.

Bar Plan received actual written notice of the clients’ claims from the clients, not Davidson, so Bar Plan argued under the policy that it didn’t receive written notice within the policy period.

Under the policy, Davidson was supposed to provide written notice, but he was running from the law during the relevant time period, noted Judge James Kirsch, and also unable to receive demands from the clients within that period. Under the facts of the case, notice provided by Davidson was impossible. Also, the insurer did receive “timely” and “true” notice as those terms are set out in Paint Shuttle.

The purpose of the notice provision has more to do with the ability of Bar Plan to investigate and defend claims in a timely manner than with the ability of Bar Plan to deny coverage because actual notice was supplied by the wrong person, wrote Judge Kirsch. As a matter of law, the actual notice Bar Plan received from the clients was proper.

The case was remanded for further proceedings.  
 

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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