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Court affirms judgment in favor of insurer over fire damages

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An insurer was entitled to summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by a couple who claimed the policy limits did not fully compensate them after a fire destroyed their home.

In Daryl Schweitzer and Lynn Schweitzer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company and Jennifer Gholson Insurance Agency, 45A03-1307-CT-248, the Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday affirmed summary judgment for defendants who provided total payments of $326,040 after a fire in December 2009.

The Schweitzers argued their losses substantially exceeded the policy limit, that American Family had acted in bad faith, and that they should have been beneficiaries of a practice requiring agents to write policies for full replacement value.

But Jennifer Gholson, the independent agent, argued she made no representation that the policy provided full replacement value and that under Myers v. Yoder, 921 N.E.2d 880 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), the court rejected the notion that a general duty of care requires insurance agents to perform a replacement-cost estimate before issuing policies.

In this case, the court found a special relationship did not exist between Gholson and the Schweitzers and that the policy had been taken out less than a year before the fire.

"Based upon the designated evidence," Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel, "we find the Schweitzers are not entitled to additional payments under their homeowners insurance policy and that the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment.”
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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