Purdue to host COA argument in courtesy car crash case this week

Purdue University will host a traveling oral argument of the Indiana Court of Appeals this week in a case involving who will pay for damages to a car rented from a car dealership while the driver’s vehicle was being repaired.

Maria Riviera took her vehicle to be serviced at Terry Lee Honda, which provided Riviera one its vehicles to use while hers was out of commission.  Riviera signed a “rental agreement for a temporary substitute vehicle” that included a $35/day rental fee and said Riviera agreed to provide insurance for the courtesy car.  While Riviera was driving the courtesy car, she was involved in a fender bender that caused minor damage to the car.

A dispute between insurers arose. Progressive Southeastern Insurance Company, which insures Riviera, filed for a declaratory judgment that Terry Lee Honda’s insurer, Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company, was primary because Riviera was a permissive driver of a loaned vehicle. The trial court found that the car was a rental and denied Progressive’s motion for summary judgment, prompting this appeal.

Progressive argues the trial court erred in determining the car was a rental, and Empire counters the coverage dispute is subject to arbitration.

Scheduled panel members, judges Michael Kirsch, Margret Robb and Robert Altice will hear arguments at 1 p.m. Friday in the Krannert Center for Executive Education, Room 128, 425 W. State St., West Lafayette. Requests for permission to record the argument with still or video camera must be sent to Court Administrator Larry Morris at [email protected].

The case is Progressive Southeastern Insurance Co. v. Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Co., 32A05-1706-PL-1235.

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