ILNews

COA: insurer received actual notice from clients

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.  
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

ADVERTISEMENT