Insurance

Summary judgment reversed in retroactive tax case

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a genuine issue of material fact as to when a company’s owners could have discovered that their plans investing in cash value life insurance were actually taxable, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of the consultant who advised the company’s owners to invest in those plans.
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Appeals court affirms judgment in family land-contract dispute

September 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly ruled that an insurance company owed no duty to a mother who sold property on contract to her son and daughter-in-law, but the son and daughter-in-law who collected proceeds from the policy do.
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Insurer’s exclusion stands after bar fight

September 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman’s own description of a barroom brawl that left her with a broken arm was used against her in allowing an insurance company to deny coverage.
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Teachers union could pay $14M to schools under settlement

August 13, 2013
Indianapolis Business Journal, J.K. Wall
The state’s largest teachers union and its national parent organization have agreed to pay $14 million under a tentative settlement announced Tuesday morning by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Securities Commissioner Chris Naylor.
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COA notes Indiana law would have changed outcome of environmental dispute

August 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Using California law, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that an insurance company does not have to pay for an environmental cleanup, but the court noted it did not agree with the position of the Golden State and it would have ruled differently if Indiana law had been applicable.
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7th Circuit rejects ‘kitchen sink approach’ in widow’s insurance appeal

July 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A woman whose husband died of cancer as their purchase of several Terre Haute-based car dealerships was failing is not entitled to proceeds of his life insurance policy – a policy that had been assigned as an asset in the sale of the lots – the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Settlement reached in Weinberger medical malpractice suits

July 3, 2013
Dave Stafford
Victims split $55 million, but some cases continue for former fugitive Merrillville ‘Nose Doctor.’
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Appeals panel reverses summary judgment for insurer in hit-and-run

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Summary judgment in favor of an insurer should not have been granted in a hit-and-run case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The court reversed a Marion Superior Court order and held that the hit-and-run driver was uninsured as a matter of law.
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Nursing home can’t collect from estate under doctrine of necessaries

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Connersville nursing home can’t seek to collect on expenses for a patient after her death from the estate of her husband under the doctrine of necessaries, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the facility didn’t first seek to collect from the patient.
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Low enrollment numbers in the Healthy Indiana Plan are questioned

June 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
As Indiana seeks federal approval to continue its Healthy Indiana Plan, a health insurance program for income-eligible uninsured Hoosiers, some state legislators are concerned enrollment in the program is not higher.
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Weinberger cases settle for $55M

June 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Hundreds of patients of a former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor serving a seven-year federal sentence for health-care fraud will be compensated for their medical malpractice claims through a $55 million settlement.
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Injured man who sued estate can only recover insurance policy limits

June 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was injured in an auto accident with a woman who died the following year cannot recover any funds from her estate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But the trial court didn’t err in denying the estate’s motion to amend the jury award, because it is a valid judgment despite that the man can only recover funds available under the policy limits of the woman’s insurance policy.
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ACLU of Indiana files class-action lawsuit against FSSA for changes to Medicaid waiver programs

June 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The ACLU of Indiana has slapped the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration with a class-action lawsuit over the way the state agency operates two of its Medicaid waiver programs.
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Lawsuit claims Indiana’s high-risk insurance pool hoards cash

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Health care providers who’ve been rejected by private malpractice writers turn to a state-run insurer that typically charges two to three times more for coverage. A class-action lawsuit claims the high-risk pool owes its policyholders a $31 million surplus.
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Court rules in favor of insurer in environmental cleanup dispute

May 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A release executed between a chemical manufacturing business and its insurer that relieved the insurer from claims or demands related to remediation was unambiguous and covered all policies held by the company, not just the primary liability ones, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Seeking an exclusion for innocent co-insured

May 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A LaPorte County woman who lost her home to a fire allegedly started by her estranged husband is at the center of a legal dispute with her insurance company that could set precedent.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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SCOTUS declines review of injunction against Medicaid cap on dental work

April 22, 2013
IL Staff
The Supreme Court of the United States will leave undisturbed a ruling that blocked state efforts to cap dental work for Medicaid recipients at $1,000 per year.
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House passes JTAC, court late payment bills

April 19, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana House of Representatives passed on concurrence several bills Wednesday, including legislation dealing with judicial technology and automation.
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Judges affirm AUL Insurance owed no fiduciary duty to 401(k) plan

April 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of an insurance company on a 401(k) plan trustee’s lawsuit that the insurance company's revenue-sharing practices breached a fiduciary duty under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
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Workers’ comp, JTAC bills pass full Senate

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Legislation out of the House of Representatives reconfiguring workers’ compensation in Indiana passed the Senate Wednesday and goes back to the House with some changes.
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Contractor wins on appeal of $14.5M damages award for defamation

April 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. is on the hook for $14.5 million in damages after a contractor prevailed on his defamation claim against the insurer. The award is one of the largest defamation damages in the country, according to the court.
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State Farm must pay contractor $14.5M for defamation

April 11, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a $14.5 million award of damages against State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. after finding the insurer couldn’t prove its three arguments on appeal to reverse. The award is one of the largest defamation awards in U.S. history, according to the court.
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Malpractice ruling for hospital remanded to trial court

April 9, 2013
Dave Stafford
The apparent agency of Ball Memorial Health Clinic as it pertains to the alleged malpractice of an affiliated doctor and nurse practitioner is a fact question the Indiana Court of Appeals sent back to the trial court, which had granted the hospital summary judgment on the issue.
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Endorsement clause makes insurance policy ambiguous

April 8, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Describing an insurance company’s policy as “inherently ambiguous,” the Indiana Court of Appeals has reserved the summary judgment granted by the trial court.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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