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Split court upholds $3.9 million workplace injury judgment

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Whether a general liability carrier could intervene in a workplace injury lawsuit that awarded a plaintiff $3.9 million is a question that divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court ruling.

Granite State Insurance Company was the carrier for Pulliam Enterprises, where Robert Lodholtz was seriously injured. When he sued, Granite State assigned the matter to a claims administrator who failed to respond to Lodholtz’s claim. The court entered a default judgment on his behalf and later a $3.9 million damages award.

Granite offered to represent Pulliam in an effort to vacate the default judgment and settlement while reserving the right to deny judgment – an offer Pulliam did not accept. Pulliam settled with Lodholtz.

“In a case that brings to mind the admonition, ‘Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it[,]’” we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Granite State leave to intervene,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Judge Margret Robb in Granite State Insurance Company v. Robert Lodholtz and Pulliam Enterprises, Inc., 71A04-1111-CT-635.

The majority held that because Granite State reserved a right to deny coverage in its offer to represent Pulliam, it had an interest that was at best contingent and insufficient to support intervention.

Dissenting Judge John Baker said Granite State had demonstrated an interest sufficient to support intervention. “Its interest is not currently being protected, thus satisfying the requirements of Indiana Trial Rule 24(A)(2).

“I part ways with the majority’s view that Granite State sought to intervene simply ‘because it did not like the results’ when Pulliam and Lodholtz settled,” Baker wrote.

 



 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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