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Judges rule in favor of insured

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found under the plain language of a woman’s insurance policy, the woman did what was required of her by the policy to pursue an underinsured motorist claim.

Laverna Ewing was injured when Brent Vannorman’s vehicle hit hers from behind. She filed a complaint for damages against Vannorman within the two-year statute of limitations applicable to her bodily injury claims. She settled for his policy limits, which didn’t cover all her expenses, so she filed an underinsured motorist claim with her insurer, Auto-Owners Insurance Co. This claim came outside of the statute of limitations.

Auto-Owners denied her claim, arguing that she had to file it with them within the two-year limit. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Ewing and the executors of her estate, finding the underinsured motorist coverage contractual limitation provision is unenforceable because it is vague and ambiguous.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Cathy Benko and Gerald Ewing, as Executors of the Estate of Laverna Ewing, Deceased, No. 75A04-1108-CT-440, with Judge John Baker writing, “We conclude that the plain language of the provision would lead an ordinary policyholder to believe that they were required to bring a bodily injury claim against the alleged tortfeasor within the applicable statute of limitations, which occurred in this case. Additionally, if the insurance company intended a different interpretation, it should have stated so in plain English so that their policyholders understand what is necessary to protect their interests and collect their benefits under the policy.”

The judges also upheld the denial of Auto-Owners’ motion to strike the appellees’ July 21, 2011, supplemental designation of evidence that it had argued was untimely.  


 

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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