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Professional Adjusters, Inc. v. Tandon

Supreme Court of Indiana
433 N.E.2d 779 (1982)


Facts

After a fire damaged their mobile home, the Tandons (defendants) filed a claim with their insurance company. The insurer made a settlement offer that the Tandons found unacceptable, and thus the Tandons hired Professional Adjusters, Inc. (Professional Adjusters) (plaintiff) to independently evaluate their losses and submit an alternative settlement proposal to the insurance company. Professional Adjusters operated as certified public adjusters under an Indiana statute authorizing the Insurance Commissioner to examine and certify applicants. The Tandons’ insurance company agreed to accept a claim submitted by Professional Adjusters in an amount significantly higher than the insurance company’s original offer. The Tandons hired an attorney to finalize the settlement offer, but also asserted that Professional Adjusters had engaged in the unlicensed practice of law and refused to pay for services. Professional Adjusters brought suit to enforce its fee agreement. The trial court dismissed the complaint. Professional Adjusters appealed, and the matter proceeded to the state supreme court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Pivarnik, J.)

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Dissent (Hunter, J.)

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