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Indy archdiocese can’t collect sex-abuse legal fees from insurer

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An insurance company won’t have to pay the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ legal fees and costs associated with defending claims of sexual abuse.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Thursday dismissed with prejudice the archdiocese’s claim for $250,000 from Travelers Insurance. A final judgment will be issued accordingly.

The archdiocese sued two insurers in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis v. Travelers Insurance Co. and Gallagher Bassett Insurance Services, 1:12-CV-JMS-DKL. The archdiocese claimed breach of contract because Travelers denied coverage for legal fees associated with the claims of 16 people who said they were molested by a Jeffersonville priest in the 1950s and 1960s. The claims alleged negligence and fraudulent concealment of abuse, among other things.

Travelers moved to dismiss in October on grounds the archdiocese failed to timely notify the insurer of the alleged sex-abuse victims’ claims that arose beginning in 2002 and ultimately were resolved in June 2006, when the claims in Clark Circuit Court were dismissed because they exceeded the statute of limitations.

The archdiocese claimed it was entitled to relief from Travelers “because of the unique circumstances that hindered the Archdiocese from providing immediate notice.”

“It is undisputed that the Archdiocese did not notify Travelers of the Underlying Actions until July 30, 2007, over a year after the actions had been resolved,” Magnus-Stinson wrote. “Because Travelers does not have any obligation to the Archdiocese until it was first notified of the Underlying Actions, and all of the defense fees and costs were incurred prior to the Archdiocese’s tender of notice of Travelers on July 30, 2007, Travelers is not responsible for defense fees and costs incurred prior to that time as a matter of law.”

Eight men and eight women sued the archdiocese between 2002 and 2004, claiming they were abused between 1953 and 1969 by Rev. Albert Deery, pastor of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Jeffersonville. Deery died in 1972.

There has been no ruling to date on the claim against Gallagher Bassett, the archdiocese’s other named liability carrier.
 

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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