Transfer granted in insurance dispute

January 9, 2009

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to an insurance coverage dispute case that has already been before the high court twice, and the chief justice didn't vote on whether to grant transfer to a case involving local government reform.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in Tri-Etch, Inc., et al. v. Cincinnati Insurance Co., 49A02-0709-CV-827, in which Tri-Etch and other appellants appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Cincinnati Insurance. Tri-Etch contended it gave adequate notice of the event resulting in liability under Cincinnati's insurance policies, and even if the notice was late, it didn't prejudice Cincinnati as a matter of law.

Cincinnati cross-appealed the trial court's first order on the matter that granted Tri-Etch and others partial summary judgment.

The suit stems from the murder of a liquor store employee in Muncie in 1997. Tri-Etch monitored the security system for the store.

The Court of Appeals reversed the grant of summary judgment because Cincinnati couldn't show it was prejudiced by late notice from Tri-Etch as a matter of law. The case was remanded for the trial court to determine when Cincinnati received notice of the claim to determine the reasonable amount of defense costs the company should pay.

In another transfer matter, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard recused himself in the vote of whether to grant transfer in the case, Ronald Sanders, et al. v. Board of Commissioners of Brown County, et al., No. 07A01-0803-CV-104. The issue here is whether the Brown County Board of Commissioners could pass an ordinance creating a county-wide fire protection district. The parties wanted the chief justice to recuse himself because of his role as co-chair of the Local Government Reform Commission. The rest of the voting justices denied transfer.


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