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Insurer loses appeal over matter litigated elsewhere

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An insurance company may not recover in Marion Superior Court claims paid for an auto accident after a St. Joseph court ruled a driver was not at fault in the crash.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a Marion Superior order to set aside an earlier entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurance company in Geico Insurance Company, as subrogee of Ralph Heitkamp v. Dianna Graham, 49A02-1310-CT-898.

Diana Graham and Janet Heitkamp were involved in an auto accident after which Heitkamp sued in a South Bend small claims court in an attempt to recoup her deductible. The court, though, found Heitkamp was at fault for the crash. Geico was notified of the ruling, according to the record, but later sued Graham in Marion Superior Court seeking to recover more than $7,500 it paid to Heitkamp, again claiming Graham was at fault.

Representing herself in Marion Superior Court, Graham presented no evidence or the prior ruling in her favor during a hearing at which the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Geico. Counsel later filed a motion to set aside, which was granted.

“Geico’s Marion Superior Court claim against Graham was derivative of Heitkamp’s St. Joseph county small claim against Graham,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel. “Accordingly, the trial court did not err in granting Graham’s motion to set aside the judgment on the grounds that Geico’s current claim against her is barred by the claim preclusion branch of the doctrine of res judicata.”
   
 

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  1. Being on this journey from the beginning has convinced me the justice system really doesn't care about the welfare of the child. The trial court judge knew the child belonged with the mother. The father having total disregard for the rules of the court. Not only did this cost the mother and child valuable time together but thousands in legal fees. When the child was with the father the mother paid her child support. When the child was finally with the right parent somehow the father got away without having to pay one penny of child support. He had to be in control. Since he withheld all information regarding the child's welfare he put her in harms way. Mother took the child to the doctor when she got sick and was totally embarrassed she knew nothing regarding the medical information especially the allergies, The mother texted the father (from the doctors office) and he replied call his attorney. To me this doesn't seem like a concerned father. Seeing the child upset when she had to go back to the father. What upset me the most was finding out the child sleeps with him. Sometimes in the nude. Maybe I don't understand all the rules of the law but I thought this was also morally wrong. A concerned parent would allow the child to finish the school year. Say goodbye to her friends. It saddens me to know the child will not have contact with the sisters, aunts, uncles and the 87 year old grandfather. He didn't allow it before. Only the mother is allowed to talk to the child. I don't think now will be any different. I hope the decision the courts made would've been the same one if this was a member of their family. Someday this child will end up in therapy if allowed to remain with the father.

  2. Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.

  3. The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

  4. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

  5. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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