Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana
Davidson v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing a Monroe County action with prejudice and denying Appellant's motions to correct error and to amend her complaint, holding that a plaintiff seeking tort damages from both government and non-government defendants must sue all such tortfeasors in one lawsuit.Plaintiff sustained injuries while driving in an I-69 construction zone. Plaintiff obtained a judgment against a non-government defendant in Lake County to satisfy the requirements for obtaining insurance coverage. After Plaintiff and the insurer settled her insurance claims Plaintiff again sued for the same injuries, this time in the Monroe Circuit Court against six other defendants, both government and non-government. The trial court dismissed the action with prejudice, concluding that collateral estoppel and claim splitting barred Plaintiff's claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court was correct in dismissing Plaintiff's action on issue preclusion grounds; and (2) Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on her remaining claims of error. View "Davidson v. State" on Justia Law
Parks v. Illinois Casualty Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment for Illinois Casualty Company in this declaratory judgment action, holding that a liquor liability exclusion in the relevant policy absolved Illinois Casualty of a duty to defend or indemnify its insured under its general business owners' policy.Illinois Casualty insured Big Daddy's Show Club. Third-parties filed a lawsuit against Big Daddy's and related entities (collectively, Parks defendants) claiming that Big Daddy's violated Indiana's Dram Shop Act, Ind. Code 7.1-5-10-15.5. Illinois Casualty field a separate declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that it did not owe a duty to defend or indemnify the Parks defendants in the underlying lawsuit. The trial court granted summary judgment for Illinois Casualty. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Illinois Casualty did not owe a duty to defend or indemnify the Parks defendants under the relevant policies. View "Parks v. Illinois Casualty Co." on Justia Law
Progressive Southeastern Insurance Co. v. Brown
In this insurance dispute, the Supreme Court held that the MCS-90 endorsement, which provides that if a motor vehicle is involved in an accident the insurer may be required to pay any final judgment against the insured arising out of the accident, does not apply to an accident that occurred during an intrastate trip transporting non-hazardous property.One way motor carries can comply with the financial requirements of the federal Motor Carrier Act of 1980 is by adding an MCS-90 endorsement to their insurance policy. The insurer in this case brought an action seeking a declaration that the MCS-90 endorsement creating a suretyship whereby the insurer agreed to pay a final judgment against the insured in certain negligence cases did not apply. The trial court found that the MCS-90 endorsement applied, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the insured driver was neither engaged in interests commerce at the time of the action nor transporting hazardous property, the MCS-90 endorsement did not apply; and (2) the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the driver. View "Progressive Southeastern Insurance Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law
G&G Oil Co. of Indiana v. Continental Western Insurance Co.
The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Continental Western Insurance Company and dismissing G&G Oil Company of Indiana's claim for losses from a ransomware attack, holding that neither party demonstrated that it was entitled to summary judgment.G&G Oil purchased an insurance policy from Continental. One provision of the policy - the "Computer Fraud" provision - covered loss "resulting directly from the use of any computer to fraudulently cause a transfer of money." G&G Oil was the target of a ransomware attack and submitted a claim for coverage of its losses under the "Commercial Crime" provision of the policy. Continental denied the claim. G&G Oil then brought this complaint. The trial court granted summary judgment for Continental. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, although G&G Oil's losses "resulted directly from the use of a computer," neither party was entitled to summary judgment. View "G&G Oil Co. of Indiana v. Continental Western Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co.
In this insurance dispute arising from a fatal car crash, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the trial court rejecting the argument of the decedent's estate that it was entitled to $25,000 in underinsured-motorist (UIM) coverage under the decedent's parents' policy and granting summary judgment for Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, holding that the estate was entitled to summary judgment.Shelina Glover died in a car crash. Shelina's estranged husband was driving the vehicle in which she died. Shelina's estate (the Estate) settled its claims against the two responsible drivers, whose insurers paid policy limits. The Estate also received two settlements of $25,000 each for UIM coverage from Shelina's carrier and from that of her husband. At issue was the Estate's request for further UIM coverage of $25,000 under Shelina's parents' Allstate policy. The trial court denied the request. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that the estate was entitled to summary judgment on the issues of whether Shelina was an "insured person" and the availability of $25,000 in further UIM coverage under the parents' Allstate policy. View "Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co.
In this insurance dispute stemming from a fatal car collision, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Insurer, holding that the decedent's estate was entitled to summary judgment on the issues of whether the decedent was an "insured person" and the availability of $25,000 in further UIM coverage under the decedent's parents' Allstate policy.Shelina Glover died in a car accident. The insurers of the two responsible drivers paid policy limits, and Glover's estate received separate settlements for underinsured-motorist (UIM) coverage from Glover's own carrier and from that of Glover's husband, who was driving the vehicle on the day of the accident. The Estate requested further UIM coverage under Glover's parents' Allstate policy. The trial court granted summary judgment for Allstate, concluding that the policy's offset and anti-stacking provisions barred the Estate from recovery because the amount the Estate received from other insurers exceeded the limits under the policy. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding (1) Glover was an "insured person" under the policy; and (2) the Estate's UIM settlements were not offset against the policy's UMI limit, and therefore, the Estate had an additional $25,000 UIM coverage available to it under the Allstate policy. View "Glover v. Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
FMS Nephrology Partners North Central Indiana Dialysis Centers, LLC v. Meritain Health, Inc.
The Supreme Court vacated the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendants, holding that the trial court erred by entering summary judgment for defendant health-insurance plans, which were governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), based on ERISA preemption.Plaintiff, a health-care provider, contracted with two third-party networks. Defendants and its affiliated employee health-insurance plans contacted with both health networks. Seven patients received treatments from Plaintiff, and the patients were covered under Defendants' plans. Plaintiff sued Defendants, alleging that they failed to pay agreed reimbursement rates for covered services under their plans. The trial court granted summary judgment against Plaintiff, concluding that Plaintiff's claims were preempted under ERISA's conflict-preemption provision, 29 U.S.C. 1144(a). The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that genuine issues of disputed fact existed concerning the central issue of whether the provider's claims were denied coverage under the plans or whether the provider's claims necessitated interpreting the plan documents. View "FMS Nephrology Partners North Central Indiana Dialysis Centers, LLC v. Meritain Health, Inc." on Justia Law
Erie Indemnity Co. v. Estate of Brian L. Harris
At issue was whether the term “others we protect” under a decedent’s employer’s commercial auto policy included the decedent.The decedent was killed by an uninsured driver while the decedent was mowing his home’s lawn near the roadside. The decedent’s estate sought uninsured motorist benefits, arguing that the decedent qualified for coverage under the employer’s commercial auto policy’s term “others we protect.” The insurance company denied the claim. The Supreme Court agreed with the insurance policy, holding (1) the term “others we protect” is unambiguous and impervious to judicial construction; and (2) accordingly, as a matter of law, the decedent did not qualify as “others we protect” under the policy when he was struck and killed by the uninsured motorist. View "Erie Indemnity Co. v. Estate of Brian L. Harris" on Justia Law
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Jakubowicz
Carol Jakubowicz and her two minor sons were involved in a car accident with Ronald Williams that resulted in injuries to the Jakubowiczs. Jakubowicz filed suit on behalf of herself and her sons against Williams. More than three years after the accident, Jakubowicz filed a motion for leave to amend her complaint and add an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim against State Farm, the Jakubowiczs’ insurer, stating that she believed Williams’ insurance policy would be insufficient to cover her damages. The trial court granted Jakubowicz’s motion for leave to amend. State Farm moved for summary judgment on the UIM claim, claiming it was barred because it was filed after the three-year limitation period in Jakubowicz’s insurance policy. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the provision in the policy requiring an insured to bring suit within three years is in direct conflict with the policy’s requirement that State Farm will only pay if the underinsured motorist’s insurance has been exhausted, the policy is ambiguous and must be construed in favor of the insured. Remanded. View "State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Jakubowicz" on Justia Law
Schmidt v. Indiana Insurance Co.
Plaintiff filed an application for insurance on his property, despite his property being vacant and uninhabitable. Based on the application, the insurance company issued a “Dwelling Fire Policy” on the property. Two months later, the property was destroyed by fire. The insurance company denied coverage and rescinded the policy because it contained material misrepresentations and false statements. Plaintiff filed suit against the company that issued the policy, the insurance agency, and the insurance agents, alleging that the agents made false representations as to the occupancy status of the house and committed forgery, deception, and insurance fraud. The trial court granted summary judgment for the agents and directed entry of judgments for all defendants. The Supreme Court (1) reversed in part the trial court’s entry of summary judgment for the agents to the extent that it may apply to Plaintiff’s claim for negligent procurement of insurance, holding that summary judgment was improperly entered on this claim; but (2) directed the entry of partial summary judgment for the agents as to Plaintiff’s claim alleging that the agents failed accurately to report dwelling fire policy information to the insurance company, holding that summary judgment was proper on this claim. View "Schmidt v. Indiana Insurance Co." on Justia Law