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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. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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