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Husband can’t recover insurance proceeds after wife burns down house

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday held that when an insurance company includes an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss resulting from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will enforce that exclusion. Because a man’s policy included such an exclusion, he can’t recover insurance proceeds after his wife burnt down their home on purpose.

Callie Deeter, believing her husband Rick was having an affair, intentionally set fire to their home. The Deeters had a homeowners insurance policy with Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. insuring their home for $124,000. The policy contained an exclusion for intentional loss committed by an insured.  

Farmers refused to pay on the insurance policy because Callie Deeter intentionally burned down the home, thus it fell under the intentional loss exclusion of the insurance policy. Rick Deeter filed a claim for insurance proceeds, and both parties sought summary judgment. The trial court ruled in favor of the insurer.

The Court of Appeals rejected Rick Deeter’s arguments that the innocent spouse rule should apply in this case and that the policy exclusion shouldn’t apply because his wife did not intend to burn the house down to collect the insurance money.

“The undisputed designated evidence shows that Callie purposefully and intentionally burnt down her home, and Farmers was within the scope of its contractual rights to deny the Deeters’ insurance claim in accordance with the intentional loss exclusion contained in the policy,” Judge John Baker wrote in Rick Deeter v. Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, 43A04-1305-PL-229.
 

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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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