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Fire Insurance Exchange v. Bell

Supreme Court of Indiana
643 N.E.2d 310 (Ind. 1994)


Fire Insurance Exchange (defendant) issued a homeowner’s insurance policy covering the house where Bell (plaintiff) got hurt in a fire. The Ice Miller law firm (defendant) represented the insurance company in settlement negotiations. An employee of the insurance company told Scaletta (defendant), a lawyer for Ice Miller, that the homeowner’s insurance policy had a limit of $300,000. However, the lawyer for Ice Miller told Bell’s attorney that the policy limit was only $100,000. Bell settled for $100,000 but later sued Ice Miller, Scaletta, and others (defendant) upon learning the true policy limit. On behalf of the insurance company, Ice Miller moved the trial court for summary judgment on the ground that Bell’s attorney, as a trained professional engaged in adversarial proceedings, had no legal right to rely on his opponent’s representation about the policy limits. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment, and the insurance company appealed. The court of appeals upheld the trial court’s decision, concluding that Bell’s right to reliance turned upon questions of fact that needed to be determined by a jury. The insurance company petitioned the state supreme court for review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Dickson, J.)

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