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Man wins partial victory in appeal of insurance dispute

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The lawsuit filed by man who was hit by a car while crossing the street will continue with respect to the driver of the car, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges affirmed summary judgment in favor of the driver’s insurer.

Kristen Dawn struck Michael Weist with her car, injuring him. Her insurance provider was State Farm Insurance Cos. Several days after the Sept. 2, 2010, accident, State Farm claim representative Barb Easley called Weist and admitted Dawn’s liability and that he was entitled to damages in the form of lost wages, pain and suffering, and payment for medical bills.

For the next two years, Weist underwent treatment for his injuries and spoke with Easley on the matter. She contacted his doctors for medical records. In August, 2012, his case was transferred to Ashanda Dunigan. When Weist called Easley in November 2012, he was transferred to Dunigan, who told him she could not assist him because the two-year statute of limitations had run.

Weist sued, and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Dawn and State Farm, ruling “There exists no genuine issue of material fact as to whether (Dawn and State Farm) are equitably estopped from asserting the Statute of Limitations as affirmative defenses.”

The Court of Appeals reversed with respect to Dawn, citing a two-part test outlined in Davis v. Shelter Insurance Cos., 957 N.E.2d 995 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), to determine the availability of equitable estoppel.

“Weist’s allegations, if proven, would fall within the parameters of Davis’s requirement of a promise to settle under the first part of the test, thereby establishing a dispute of material fact,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote in Michael Weist v. Kristen Dawn and State Farm Insurance Companies, 49A02-1306-PL-541.

There are also genuine issues of material fact as to whether State Farm’s conduct on behalf of Dawn induced Weist to delay action.

The judges affirmed summary judgment for State Farm based on the direct action rule, which bars a third party from pursuing a claim based on the actions of an insured directly against an insurer.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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