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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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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