ILNews

Court grants transfer to uninsured motorist case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to a case about whether an insurance company's automobile policy violates the state's uninsured motorist statute.

The issue in Maggie and Leonard Bush v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 71A03-0706-CV-286, is whether State Farm's policy violates the state's uninsured motorist statute because it requires an insured person sustain bodily injury and not just damages because of the conduct of an uninsured driver before uninsured motorist benefits are available.

The Bushes' son was killed in a car accident in New Mexico in which he was the passenger in a car driven by an uninsured motorist. The driver was negligent in the accident. The son didn't live with his parents nor did he have his own auto insurance policy, but the Bushes had a policy with State Farm.

They filed a claim for uninsured motorist benefits to compensate them for the damages they suffered as a result of their son's death; State Farm denied the claim because the son wasn't insured under the policy because he didn't live with his parents at the time of his death. The claim was also denied because the Bushes didn't suffer "bodily injury" as defined under the policy.

The trial court granted State Farm summary judgment on the Bushes' complaint for breach of contract and declaratory judgment. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, with the majority finding State Farm's policy, which purports to limit recovery of uninsured motorist benefits only to situations when the insured sustains bodily injury, violates Indiana's uninsured motorist statute. The majority remanded with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the Bushes.

Judge Michael Barnes dissented because he didn't believe the Bushes were covered under Indiana's uninsured motorist statute under the set of facts in this case.

The case was granted transfer Oct. 9 but wasn't released until Oct. 15.

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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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