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Judges affirm reduction of subrogation lien

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected State Farm Insurance Company’s argument that its subrogation lien regarding one couple’s policy shouldn’t be reduced based on State Farm’s refusal in a policy held by another family to pay the full amount of the couple’s claim following a car accident.

Joel Genth was driving his father’s car, which was insured with a State Farm policy (Policy 2) when his car hit Thomas Young’s vehicle. Young was injured and received treatment. His medical insurance company Ingenix and his State Farm policy (Policy 1) paid for those treatments.

The Youngs sued Genth and his father for damages and listed two subrogation liens totaling $24,276.61. State Farm, on behalf of the Genths, offered to settle the Youngs’ claims for $17,432. The Youngs then filed a motion to reduce the subrogation liens pursuant to Indiana Code 34-51-2-9. They claimed they should only be responsible for 17.43 percent of the value of each subrogation lien because they were only receiving that percentage of the Genths’ $100,000 policy limit.

Policy 1 agreed to reduce the amount of its lien from $5,000 to $3,250 but not to reduce the lien to 17.43 percent of its value. The trial court ordered State Farm to accept $581 for Policy 1, which is 17.43 percent of the value of the original subrogation lien, minus its pro rata share of attorney fees and litigation expenses.

“In light of the unusual facts before us, i.e., that State Farm issued both Policy One and Policy Two, we decline to adopt State Farm Policy One’s premise that its subrogation lien should not be reduced based on State Farm Policy Two’s refusal to pay the full amount of the Youngs’ claim. The purpose of subrogation is to avoid unjust enrichment,” Judge Meliss May wrote in State Farm Insurance Company v. Thomas A. Young and Mary E. Young, Joel P. Genth and Philip K. Genth, INGENIX 92A05-1205-CT-258.

“State Farm paid under Policy One for some of the Youngs’ damages, and thus was entitled to a subrogation lien. But ‘the one primarily liable,’ Wirth, 950 N.E.2d at 1216, and who ‘in good conscience should have been’ paying, id., was State Farm under Policy Two. Therefore, to allow State Farm to recover the full value of its subrogation lien under Policy One, when State Farm did not pay the full value of Youngs’ claim under Policy Two, would unjustly enrich State Farm.”
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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