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Issue of fact precludes summary judgment in insurance case

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Neither side in a dispute over whether a deceased man’s auto insurer should provide coverage for losses from an accident that occurred while he was driving his girlfriend’s car is entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. A genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether the girlfriend’s car was furnished or available for the man’s regular use.

Bradley Kinser was driving his girlfriend’s Ford Focus home after a trip to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. Kinser, his girlfriend Natalie Rike, and two of their children were involved in an accident with Don and Jayne Page. Everyone involved was injured and Kinser was killed.

Kinser’s insurer, Indiana Insurance Company, filed for a declaratory judgment stating that it is not required to cover any losses because Kinser’s policy excluded coverage for a vehicle furnished or available for his regular use. Kinser’s car, an SUV, was covered by his policy, but the Focus wasn’t added. Kinser and his girlfriend lived together and commuted to work together in her Focus. He would drive to work and she would drive home. Each had keys to the other’s car, but Rike said that was in case the other got locked out of his or her car. Rike said Kinser would ask for permission to use the car, wouldn’t take it without asking, and generally drove his SUV unless they were going to work.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Indiana Insurance and denied Rike and other appellants’ motion for summary judgment. The trial court said the facts showed Kinser regularly used the car and it was always available for his use.

In Estate of Bradley Kinser, et al. v. Indiana Insurance Company, No. 29A02-1009-PL-1093, the appellate judges examined the exclusion in Kinser’s policy, which said it would not provide liability coverage for any vehicle, other than the coverage car, that is “furnished or available for your regular use.” The policy doesn’t define “furnished” or “available,” but the judges cited caselaw in which the court has held that “furnish” means one is given keys to access and permission to use a given vehicle for a purpose as both the furnisher and recipient mutually understand.

The COA judges used a dictionary definition of “available” and found that although Kinser had a key and used that key to drive the car, the main reason for that key was in case of a lock out. Chief Judge Margret Robb noted that this and other nuances may affect whether the Focus was “available” for Kinser’s use.

There are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the car was furnished to or made available to Kinser, and as to whether he regularly used the Focus. The judges reversed summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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