Thursday, November 21, 2013

Koval & Koval v. Simon Telelect, Inc. case brief

Koval & Koval v. Simon Telelect, Inc. case brief summary
693 N.E.2d 1299 (1998)


CASE SYNOPSIS
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana submitted two certified questions to the court that arose out of a products liability suit in the federal court by plaintiffs, husband and wife, against defendants, manufacturer and distributor, of a device that allegedly caused injuries to plaintiff husband in the course of his employment.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiffs, husband and wife, filed a products liability action against defendants, manufacturer and distributor, alleging that a device caused injuries to plaintiff husband during the course of his employment. The federal court submitted two certified questions to the court, the first regarding whether a settlement entered into by the client's attorney, but without the client's consent, was binding between third parties and the client, and the second regarding whether Ind. Code § 22-3-2-13 constituted protection by court order such that consent was not required for the settlement of claims and satisfaction of judgment in proceedings.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the sole act of retaining an attorney did not give the attorney the implied or the apparent authority to settle or compromise a claim in an out of court proceeding. 
  • The court concluded that for purposes of § 22-3-2-13 it did not constitute protection by court order for a court specifically to preserve an employer's or an employer's insurance carrier's right to bring suit for breach of duty by its agent.

CONCLUSION
The court concluded that retention of an attorney did not in itself confer implied or apparent authority on the attorney to settle or compromise the client's claim, but retention did confer inherent power on the attorney to bind the client in a court proceeding. The court concluded that it did not constitute protection by court order for a court to preserve an employer's or insurance carrier's right to bring suit for breach of duty by its agent.


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