Sunday, April 14, 2013

Professional Adjusters, Inc. v. Tandon case brief

Professional Adjusters, Inc. v. Tandon case brief summary
433 N.E.2d 779 (Ind. 1982)

Plaintiff public claims adjuster brought suit against defendant insurer in the Vigo Superior Court (Indiana), alleging that insurer settled with its insureds without protecting adjuster's claim to the settlement proceeds under an assignment by the insureds. The trial court dismissed adjuster's claim because it was based upon an illegal contract, under which adjuster was engaged in the practice of law. Adjuster appealed.

HOLDING: The court held that the trial court properly found that Ind. Code § 27-1-24-1 et seq., which created a type of adjuster known as a Certified Public Adjuster, was unconstitutional in that it violated the Ind. Const. art. VII, § 4, which placed the exclusive control of regulation and supervision of the practice of law in the Supreme Court of Indiana, and art. III, § 1, which provided for the separation of powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and prohibited any of these branches from exercising any of the functions of another branch except as expressly provided in the Constitution.

The contract further violated the Code of Professional Responsibility as adopted and promulgated by the Indiana Supreme Court. Because adjuster's claim was based upon an illegal contract between adjuster and insureds, the contract was unenforceable, and adjuster had failed to state a cause of action.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of adjuster's claim.

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