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Denial of summary judgment upheld over questions of car ownership

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The insurer of a car dealership is not entitled to summary judgment because there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the dealership or the son of an employee who purchased a car from the dealership owned the car at the time the son hit a bicyclist.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of Auto-Owners Insurance Co.’s motion for summary judgment on its motion asking the court to determine that it had no liability for the injuries of the cyclist, Edward Foster, under the dealership’s commercial liability policy or a garage liability policy.

Foster was hit by a car driven by Garrett Gaddis. When he was 18, he purchased the car from his father, Scott Gaddis, who was a salesman at the dealership owned by Scott Gaddis’ father. Scott Gaddis “charged” the car to an account he had with the dealership, and the car’s title was never transferred to Garrett Gaddis’ name. He did not register or insure the car and it had a temporary license plate. The day Garrett Gaddis hit Foster while driving, he had taken the car without his father’s permission.

The trial court found material questions as to ownership, possession and control of the car and denied summary judgment. It also denied two motions to strike filed by Auto-Owners regarding “untimely filed evidence” and certain exhibits.

In Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Bill Gaddis Chrysler Dodge, Inc., Garrett Gaddis and Edward Foster, 18A02-1112-PL-1087, the Court of Appeals found the trial court shouldn’t have allowed the four exhibits designated by Foster, which included Garrett Gaddis’ bank records and his employment records, because Foster’s attempt to certify and authenticate the four challenged exhibits was untimely. However, Auto-Owners didn’t show it was prejudiced by the denial of its motion to strike, Judge Edward Najam wrote. The judges also found the trial court didn’t err in granting Foster’s motion for extension of time to file a response in opposition to summary judgment, as it was timely filed under Ind. Trial Rule 56(C).

There are questions as to who owned the car at the time of the accident and whether Garrett Gaddis is an insured under the terms of the dealership’s garage liability policy, he wrote.  

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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