COA upholds judgment in favor of Delaware County on insurance claim

January 8, 2018

A Delaware County public defender convicted on multiple drunk driving charges has lost his appeal of the grant of summary judgment in favor of the county after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled he failed to present evidence that would have required the county to pay for his accident-related medical bills.

In July 2011, Michael Quirk was in a car accident while driving with a blood alcohol level of .363 percent, resulting in two misdemeanor convictions. Quirk submitted his medical bills from the accident to the Delaware County health insurance administrator, who denied the claims under the policy’s “illegal acts exclusion.”

Specifically, Quirk was informed throughout the appeals process that his medical claims would not be covered unless his illegal act was the result of a mental or physical condition, which he had not asserted. He then filed suit against Delaware County in October 2012, and the county responded with a motion for summary judgment based on the illegal acts exclusion. The county also designated multiple exhibits in support of its position.

Quirk filed his own motion for summary judgment, arguing for the first time that the mental medical condition exception precluded application of the illegal acts exclusion. He also asserted he was not required to disclose his mental medical condition during the underlying insurance claim proceedings. 

But the Delaware Circuit Court granted the county’s summary judgment motion, finding Quirk “intentionally chose not to submit additional evidence of his ‘mental condition’ within the designated time.” The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld that decision Monday, with Judge Melissa May pointing to a letter from the insurance plan administrator to Quirk, which Delaware County designated as evidence.

In that letter, the administrator wrote that it had not received any information to suggest Quirk’s illegal act was a result of a physical or mental condition.  That and other similar evidence defeated Quirk’s argument on summary judgment that the county “never inquired as to whether any of the bills from the…accident w(ere) the result of a ‘mental medical condition’…,” May said.

“Quirk’s assertion that Delaware needed to respond to his summary judgment motion to re-designate the same evidence and to advance the same arguments that were provided in Delaware’s original motion for summary judgment is not supported by (Reiswerg v. Statom, 926 N.E.2d 26 (Ind. 2010)) or any other law we found,” the judge wrote. “The documentation from the insurance company’s internal appeal procedure, designated by Delaware with its motion for summary judgment, demonstrated there was not genuine issue of material fact to support a claim of breach of contract because Quirk never notified Delaware of his mental medical condition.”

The case is Michael P. Quirk v. Delaware County, Indiana and The Board of Commissioners of Delaware County, Indiana, 18A02-1706-PL-1208.


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