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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. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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