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Court of Appeals finds insurer’s intent is not clear in policy language

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Finding language in an insurance policy to be ambiguous, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court’s entry of summary judgment for an insurance company.

FLM LLC leased property in Indianapolis to International Recycling Inc. Daimler Chrysler Corp. entered into purchase order transactions with IRI for the removal and reuse or disposal of foundry sand generated from Chrysler’s Indianapolis foundry. IRI started depositing the sand onto the FLM property in May 1999.

In 2002, Chrysler stopped paying and IRI could no longer fund the removal of the sand from FLM’s property. IRI stopped paying rent to FLM in 2003 and abandoned more than 100,000 tons of sand on the property.

FLM filed a complaint against IRI’s insurer Cincinnati Insurance Co. in January 2005, seeking declaration that IRI was covered under the commercial general liability policy and the umbrella policy for the environmental liabilities asserted by the state and the city.

In March 2005, the insurance company filed its answer and counterclaim, seeking a declaration that there was no coverage under the policies for the claims.

The trial court granted partial summary judgment in November 2008 in favor of Cincinnati and denied FLM’s and Chrysler’s cross-motions for summary judgment.

On appeal, FLM and Chrysler raised the issue of whether IRI’s abandonment of sand constitutes a “wrongful entry” or “invasion of the right of private occupancy” covered by the “personal injury” provisions of the insurance policies.

The COA focused on determining whether any ambiguity existed in the language of the policies. It cited Travelers Indem. Co. v. Summit Corp. of Am. 715 N.E.2d 926 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999), finding the reasoning underlying the Summit decision applies here.

Writing for the majority, Judge James Kirsch concluded, “Cincinnati’s personal injury provision contained language identical to the language in the personal injury provision at issue in Summit, and just as the court in that case determined such language to be ambiguous, we likewise conclude that the language used in Cincinnati’s policies is ambiguous. Because the Policies are ambiguous, we must construe the language against the insurer and in favor of coverage.”
 

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  2. 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.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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