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Poling v. Property Owners Ins. Co.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 13, 2014

CHARLES POLING, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
v.
PROPERTY OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee-Defendant

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE GRANT SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Marianne L. Vorhees, Special Judge. Cause No. 27D02-1002-PL-38.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MARTIN A. HARKER, ALBERT C. HARKER, Kiley, Harker & Certain, Marion, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: THOMAS R. HALEY III, House Reynolds & Faust LLP, Carmel, Indiana.

BRADFORD, Judge. MATHIAS, J., and PYLE, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

BRADFORD, Judge.

CASE SUMMARY

In January of 2009, Appellant-Plaintiff Charles Poling's home was damaged by a fire. Poling subsequently filed an insurance claim with Appellee-Defendant Property Owners Insurance Company ("Property Owners"). Poling initiated the instant matter after the parties were unable to agree upon the amount of the loss covered by Poling's insurance policy.[1] In doing so, Poling sought the appointment of an Umpire who, pursuant to the terms of the policy, would determine the amount of the loss for which Property Owners was liable. It is undisputed that pursuant to the terms of the policy, the parties were bound by the Umpire's determination regarding the amount of the loss. It is also undisputed that at some point after Poling initiated the instant matter, an Umpire was appointed, the Umpire issued an appraisal award containing a determination regarding the amount of the loss for which Property Owners was liable, and Property Owners paid Poling the amount of the loss, as determined by the Umpire.

On March 7, 2013, Property Owners filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that they had completely satisfied their obligations to Poling under the appraisal award and no further amounts were owed to Poling. Poling objected to Property Owners's motion, claiming that the first amended complaint also set forth a tort claim that Property Owners had acted in bad faith in contesting the amount of the loss. Poling requested permission to file a second amended complaint for the purpose of " clarifying" the allegations contained in the first amended complaint and to add a new defamation claim. After considering the pleadings and exhibits presented by the parties, the trial court issued an order denying Poling's request to file a second amended complaint and dismissing the instant matter.

Upon appeal, Poling contends that the trial court erroneously dismissed the instant matter and abused its discretion in denying his request to amend his complaint for a second time. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In December of 2009, Poling's home was destroyed by a fire. At the time of the fire, Poling's home was covered by an insurance policy issued by Property Owners. After Poling submitted his claim, Property Owners conducted an investigation into Poling's loss. Property Owners made payments to Poling for some of the loss and contested some of the amount of loss claimed by Poling.

The insurance policy provided that if the parties were unable to agree on a settlement amount, each party could retain its own appraiser to assess the value of the loss. If the parties were still unable to agree on a settlement amount after receiving the appraisers' assessments, the parties could then request that an Umpire be appointed to consider the assessments of each appraiser and to issue an appraisal award, by which the parties would then be bound. The insurance policy further provided that if ...


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