Justices vacate transfer in insurance dispute

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A divided Indiana Supreme Court decided last week that it will no longer take an insurance case involving a landlord and tenant that also divided the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The Feb. 6 order vacated transfer granted to Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina and 500 Rangeline Road, LLC v. Erie Insurance Exchange, Welch & Wilson Properties, LLC d/b/a Hammons Storage, Allianz Global Risks U.S. Insurance Company, 73S01-1412-PL-750. The justices accepted the case in December.

A trial court ruled Erie Insurance Exchange, the tenant’s insurance company, did not owe the building owner a defense or indemnity in the underlying litigation. Erie had filed a subrogation lawsuit against Rangeline LLC after pipes in a warehouse sprinkler system burst.

But a divided appeals court reversed, finding a significant connection between the accident and the leased premises.

The decision to vacate transfer came after oral arguments were heard by the justices. Justices Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker and Mark Massa voted to vacate transfer; Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Steven David dissented, but did not elaborate in the order.

The Indiana Court of Appeals opinion has been reinstated.

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