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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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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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