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Judges differ on insurance coverage

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A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed about whether a school bus driver who also worked as an independent farmer over the summer should be covered by the school corporation's insurance following a car accident while hauling grain. Judge Melissa May, dissenting from the majority's affirmation of the denial of coverage for the bus driver's accident, worried the majority's interpretation of Exclusion 33 in his insurance policy would require any school employee who may be eligible for workers' compensation coverage to buy it or risk losing insurance benefits provided by the school corporation's health plan.

In Mikel A. Schilling v. Huntington County Community School Corp., et al., No. 35A02-0803-CV-191, Huntington County Community School Corp., Huntington County Community School Corporation Employee Benefit Trust, and American Health Care Partnership Inc., were awarded summary judgment on Mikel Schilling's claims that his health plan pay for his injuries from the accident. Judges Edward Najam and Margret Robb interpreted Exclusion 33 of Schilling's plan through the school corporation to exclude coverage of injuries that would be covered by Indiana's Workers' Compensation Act, regardless of whether workers' compensation was actually obtained by the insured.

Schilling, as an independent farmer, didn't purchase workers' compensation and argued the exclusion needed to state affirmative steps he had to take to purchase the coverage. The majority disagreed, finding the exclusion plainly informed Schilling the plan wouldn't cover injuries coverable by workers' compensation, regardless of whether it had been purchased, wrote Judge Najam.

In Judge May's dissent, she wrote the exclusion implies the purchaser of the workers' compensation would be a school employee, but most aren't self-employed in addition to their school employment. Surely a policy meant to cover a typical school system employee wouldn't exclude coverage just because that typical employee hadn't bought workers' compensation coverage, Judge May wrote. As such, she declined to interpret the exclusion to presume an employee would lose health coverage for any injury covered by workers' compensation that the employee might have been able to buy. Judge May would reverse summary judgment in favor of the school corporation and remand.

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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