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High court to hear insurance, dissolution cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases tomorrow, including two cases involving insurance coverage disputes.

At 9 a.m., the high court will hear arguments in Tri-Etch, Inc. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 49A02-0709-CV-827. At issue in this case were two orders from the trial court. One order granted partial summary judgment in favor of Tri-Etch and the appellants on a bad faith counterclaim brought by Cincinnati Insurance, and the other granted summary judgment in favor of Cincinnati and ruled that Tri-Etch's late notice to Cincinnati was unreasonably late as a matter of law and Cincinnati owed no coverage or indemnity to Tri-Etch.

The Court of Appeals reversed the grant of summary judgment because Cincinnati couldn't show it was prejudiced by late notice from Tri-Etch as a matter of law. The case was remanded for the trial court to determine when Cincinnati received notice of the claim to determine the reasonable amount of defense costs the company should pay.

The other insurance case, Allianz Insurance Co. v. Guidant Corp., No. 49A05-0704-CV-216, was described by the Court of Appeals as a "monstrosity of a litigation" based on the fact Illinois and Indiana courts were involved in similar disputes. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision in a case involving public-access laws, fraud, and an insurer's duty to defend. The appellate court reversed the trial court's entry of partial summary judgment in favor of the policyholders. The Court of Appeals ruled the policy's "batch clause" wasn't triggered so the policy's self-insured retention wasn't exhausted.

The Court of Appeals also found the trial court erred in allowing a protective order to seal the case because there wasn't any confidential information in the records, briefs, or issues.

Allianz had filed suit against Guidant in Illinois seeking damages and recission of the insurance policy for fraud; that same month Guidant filed suit in Indiana against Allianz alleging the insurers breached their duty to defend and Guidant was entitled to coverage for the losses from a defect in a medical device.

Arguments begin at 9:45 a.m.

The Supreme Court also will hear arguments in a marriage dissolution case. Here, the trial court judge entered a money judgment in favor of ex-husband Robert Rovai but made Ann Marie Rovai's payment of that money due upon the occurrence of several future events - when both the children become emancipated, Ann Marie voluntarily sells the marital home awarded to her, or she marries or lives with someone else in the home. The appellate court upheld the trial court decision. Arguments in Robert Rovai v. Ann Marie Rovai, No. 45A03-0712-CV-600, begin at 10:30 a.m.

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