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Friday, April 04, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, re insurance coverage issues & statute of limitations

In Christopher Groce and Tracey Groce v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, and Michael A. Meek, a 7-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Dickson writes:

In the litigation of this dispute between the plaintiffs, Christopher and Tracey Groce, who were insured under a homeowners policy issued by American Family Mutual Insurance Compa-ny and obtained through insurance agent Michael Meek, the trial court granted summary judg-ment for the defendants on various grounds including that the plaintiffs failed to commence the action within the applicable statute of limitations. Finding the statute of limitation defense appli-cable, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Groce v. Am. Family Ins., Co., 986 N.E.2d 828, 833 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013). We granted transfer to reconsider the applicability of Filip v. Block, 879 N.E.2d 1076 (Ind. 2008), but conclude that the analysis of the Court of Appeals was sound. * * *

In conclusion, we find from the undisputed facts that the Groces, in the exercise of ordinary diligence in reviewing their homeowners insurance policy, could have timely discovered that the company's replacement cost liability was capped at the dwelling loss coverage limit, contrary to their claim for negligent procurement of inadequate or wrong coverage. For this reason, the statute of limitations in this case began to run no later than the first policy renewal after the alleged statements of Meek to Tracey Groce on August 18, 2003. The trial court was correct to grant summary judgment on the basis of the applicable two-year statute of limitations.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 4, 2014 02:01 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions