ILNews

High court clarifies evidence designation

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a defendant and also clarified the designation of evidence in regards to Indiana Trial Rule 56(C).

In Idan (John) Filip and Valaria Filip v. Carrie Block and 1st Choice Insurance Agency, No. 75S05-0704-CV-149, the Filips filed a suit against Block and 1st Choice, alleging negligence in the selection of insurance on an apartment building they purchased in 1999.

Block was the insurance agent of the previous owner, and when the Filips purchased the building they worked with Block and told her they wanted the same coverage as the previous owner. The Filips lived in the building and rented out the other five units. During the following four years, the Filips made several changes to their policy. In April 2003, a fire substantially damaged the building, and because of insurance limitations, a major part of the loss was uninsured - the Filips discovered their non-business personal belongings were not covered in the fire.

Block and 1st Choice filed for summary judgment Aug. 1, 2005. The Filips had 30 days to respond and did not file their response until the end of September. The trial court struck the Filips' untimely designation of evidence and limited the Filips' evidence in opposition to the lines and paragraphs specified in Block's memorandum. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Block and 1st Choice because the two-year statute of limitations for negligence started on the date of the initial insurance coverage in 1999.

The Court of Appeals held the Filips could rely on the pages identified in the defendant's motion and were not limited to lines and paragraphs specified in the memorandum. Also, the Court of Appeals held the statute of limitations did not bar the Filips' complaint because the statutory period for negligence against an insurance agent starts to run when the claim is denied.

In the Supreme Court decision, Justice Theodore Boehm held the designation of evidence in support or opposition to a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 56(C) may be accomplished in several places, but must be done so consistently. The entire designation of evidence must be in a single place, whether as a separate document or appendix, or as a part of a motion or other filing. And, a party may rely on designations by an opposing party, even if inconsistently designated in different places. Block tried to allow only specific lines and paragraphs to be used by the Filips; however, the Filips can rely on the entire designated pages identified in the defendants' motion in opposing summary judgment, Justice Boehm wrote.

In regards to when the accrual date for a negligence action against an insurance agent begins, the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court. The trial court determined the statute of limitations began to run at the time of coverage. The Filips argued their negligence claim began when the fire occurred. Justice Boehm wrote in this case, all of the alleged problems the Filips claim their policy lacked could have been ascertained by reading the policy at any point before the fire. With the exception of their nonbusiness personal property, the limitations in this case began with the activation of the policy.

The Filips and Block both erroneously believed the Filips policy covered the Filips' nonbusiness personal property, and the Filips claim they relied on Block's statements they were covered.

"In sum, for the purposes of the summary judgment, there is evidence that Block breached the duty of care because she incorrectly believed nonbusiness personal property was covered. There are no damages from this breach, however," wrote Justice Boehm.
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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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