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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides case on statute of limitations for negligence claims against an insurance agent

In Idan (John) Filip and Valaria Filip v. Carrie Block and 1st Choice Insurance Agency, a 13-page, 4-1 opinion, Justice Boehm writes:

Indiana Trial Rule 56(C) requires parties to designate the evidence in support of or opposition to a motion for summary judgment. We hold that this designation may be accomplished in any one of several places but must be done consistently. A court may resolve any inconsistencies in designations against the designating party. We also hold that the statute of limitations for negligence claims against an insurance agent for failure to obtain a desired form of coverage begins to run at the time the failure was first discoverable through ordinary diligence. * * *

On December 9, 2005, the trial court struck the untimely designation of evidence, and limited the Filips’ evidence in opposition to summary judgment to the lines and paragraphs specified in the defendants’ memorandum. The same day, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, holding that the two-year statute of limitations for negligence started on the date of initial coverage in 1999. The Filips appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed on two grounds. First, the Court of Appeals held that the Filips could rely on the pages identified in the defendants’ motion, and were not limited to the lines and paragraphs specified in the memorandum. Filip v. Block, 858 N.E.2d 143, 150 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006). Second, the Court of Appeals held that the statute of limitations did not bar the Filips’ complaint because the statutory period for negligence against an insurance agent starts to run when the claim is denied. Id. at 152. We granted transfer. 869 N.E.2d 455 (Ind. 2007). * * *

Conclusion. The trial court’s grant of summary judgment is affirmed.

Shepard, C.J., and Sullivan and Rucker, JJ., concur.
Dickson, J., concurs in Part I but dissents as to Part II, believing that genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment.

Oral arguments were held in this case on 5/30/07.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 29, 2008 11:38 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions