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Justices take first impression insurance case

September 3, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted three cases on transfer, including one that divided the Court of Appeals regarding a jury award to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash.

The majority on the COA held that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury. They remanded for a new trial. The holding in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Kimberly S. Earl and The Estate of Jerry Earl, 36S05-1408-CT-562, aligns the state with others that have ruled disclosure of policy limits may be reversible error.

The justices also will consider whether a man’s misdemeanor conviction for patronizing a prostitute should be reversed. The Court of Appeals was divided over Kenneth Griesemer’s conviction, with two judges ruling the state was unable to rebut his entrapment defense by showing he had a history of trying to buy sex. That case is Kenneth Griesemer v. State of Indiana, 49S04-1408-CR-564.

The Supreme Court also accepted Cornelius Hines v. State of Indiana, 52S05-1408-CR-563, in which the COA in a not-for-publication decision affirmed Cornelius Hines’ convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony battery. He had argued those convictions violate Indiana’s double jeopardy protections.

The justices declined transfer to 19 other cases for the week ending Aug. 29.

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