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  • John C. Trimble

    John maintains a practice that is dominated by catastrophic, complex, and class action litigation in the State and Federal Courts... view bio

  • Robert F. Wagner
    Robert has distinguished himself as one of the Midwest's most respected trial lawyers, having tried more than 200 cases in courtrooms throughout the United States... view bio

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Richard K. Shoultz

Partner

T: 317.453.8640 | Mobile: 317.258.2147
F: 317.630.2790
E: rshoultz@lewiswagner.com

Legal Assistant

Mary McClain

T: 317.237.0500
E: mmcclain@lewiswagner.com

Biography

Rick provides clients with skilled and responsive representation in the areas of fire loss, insurance, construction, product liability and commercial litigation. Over the years, he has represented clients in courts of almost every Indiana county, the Indiana appellate courts, and the Seventh Circuit federal court.  
 
Since 1990, Rick has represented companies, insurers and insureds in fire litigation matters. He has litigated fire cases involving defective products, gas and propane explosions, fire suppression systems and suspected arson. His clients frequently engage him to assist in securing the fire scene and evidence, determining the cause and origin of the fire, and working with government officials and experts during their investigations. He is familiar with the intricacies of fire litigation including NFPA guidelines and code regulations.
 
Rick also represents clients on insurance litigation matters. Clients frequently ask Rick to analyze and litigate complex insurance coverage questions relating to commercial general liability, automobile, property and homeowner policies. He represents clients in insurance coverage disputes including declaratory judgment actions, bad faith defense and suspected insurance fraud claims. Rick is a frequent author and lecturer on insurance law and trial tactics and co-authors an electronic newsletter highlighting significant Indiana court decisions in the field of insurance law.
 
Rick is a former collegiate baseball player, and enjoys following his favorite sports teams, studying the Civil War, and traveling.
 
 

Experience

Filter Experience
Defense verdict on slip and fall case
07C01-1311-CT-000470Ms. Koller allegedly slipped and fell upon ice at the Hotel Nashville in Nashville, Indiana.  There were significant questions associated with Ms. Koller’s contention that ice was present at the time of her fall. We were able to cast doubt upon Mr. Koller’s description of the conditions.
Court of Appeals affirms grant of summary judgment to employer who paid for drinks where employee was involved in an automobile accident.
32A05-1403-CT-131
Lewis Wagner, LLP’s client is an employer who had a holiday luncheon for its employees at a restaurant which began at 1:00 p.m.  One of the client’s employees had prior instances of incidents after the consumption of alcohol.  At the holiday party, the restaurant served two drinks to the employee which were paid for by the employer.  The party ended at around 3:00 p.m.
 
The employee left the restaurant and went to his home.  Later, the employee drove to a nearby liquor store and purchased beer and tequila.  He spent two hours consuming the alcohol that he had recently purchased.  At around 8:30 p.m., almost five and a half hours after he left the holiday party, he was involved in an automobile accident with the plaintiffs while driving his own vehicle on personal activities.
 
The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the employer and others alleging negligence.  The plaintiffs argued that the employer was responsible for the employee’s intoxication and actions by organizing and supervising the Christmas party.  Furthermore, the Plaintiffs contended the employer was responsible to exercise reasonable care with respect to the employee’s consumption of alcohol such that he would not sustain a “relapse” that lead to the chain of events because of his alcohol consumption.  However, the Court of Appeals found that the employer actually exercised ordinary reasonable care in the organization of the holiday party, by refusing to allow the employees to go into the bar at the restaurant, and allowing only two drinks to be purchased by the employees.  Furthermore, the Court found that the employee’s voluntary consumption almost six hours after the party ended represented an intervening cause of which the employer was not responsible. 
 
In this case, the employer was represented by Richard K. Shoultz and Edward Thomas. The Appellate decision can be found at Thompson v. Fields Gutter & Siding, Inc., 2014 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1006 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014).
 
Seventh Circuit affirms dismissal of action by collection agent for volunteer fire departments to recover environmental cleanup costs under CERCLA
11-2381

When insureds are involved in automobile accidents, volunteer fire departments typically respond and render environmental cleanup services.  A collection agent for the volunteer fire departments often attempts to recover the expenses for the clean-up costs from accident victims and their insurance companies by contending that a right to collect such charges existed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).  42 USC § 9601 et. seq.  John Trimble and Richard K. Shoultz represented The Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and Wisconsin Insurance Alliance in asking the Seventh Circuit to affirm the Northern District of Indiana’s dismissal of the collection agent’s lawsuit against the insureds and insurance companies.  The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal, concluding that an insured’s use of an automobile that may have been involved in an accident qualified as part of a “consumer product” exception under CERCLA, which prohibited the use of the act to recover for environmental cleanup costs.

It is anticipated that this decision will be a significant one in curtailing volunteer fire department’s efforts to overcome budget shortcomings by imposing environmental cleanup costs upon insureds and their insurance companies. 

Click here to read full opinion
 

Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of an insurance company on insured's obligation to give timely notice of a loss and timely notice of a lawsuit
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of an insurance company on the issue of the insured's obligation to give timely notice of a loss and timely notice of a lawsuit. The Court also addressed the significant issue of what is an "occurrence" under a CGL policy.


Empire Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Frierson
2016 WL 276482Lewis Wagner team members, John Trimble, Richard Shoultz and Chuck Whybrew, were hired by the client to pursue post-judgment and appellate relief of an adverse verdict entered against the client. Specifically, the plaintiff, a renter of an automobile from a rental car company, was involved in an automobile accident with an underinsured motorist (“UIM”). The renter sought UIM coverage from the rental car company and its insurer, Empire Fire and Marine Insurance Company (“Empire”). Empire denied that any UIM coverage was available based upon language contained in the rental agreement and the insurance policy with the rental car company, whose terms were incorporated into the rental agreement.

The Trial Court denied Empire’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Although the renter did not seek nor did the Court specifically grant summary judgment on the coverage issues to the renter, the trial court refused to allow Empire to argue its coverage defenses at trial. As a result, a significant verdict was entered against the insurance company.

The Lewis Wagner attorneys first sought post-judgment relief at the trial court level by filing a Motion to Correct Error and for Additional Setoff. The Trial Court denied the Motion to Correct Error, but granted, in part, the request for setoff by reducing the judgment against Empire after deducting amounts received by the renter from the UIM.

On appeal, the Court reversed the Trial Court’s denial of Empire’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Specifically, the Court found that any coverage provided by Empire was under a “commercial excess liability” policy, and pursuant to Indiana Code 27-7-5-2(d), such coverage was not required to be made available to insureds or rejected by them. Consequently, the Court instructed that summary judgment be entered in favor of Empire.
Published Appeals:
  • Empire Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. Frierson, 2016 WL 276482 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016), Counsel for Defendant, arguing for reversal of jury verdict against insurer (represented by a different law firm) for trial court's errors in failure to grant summary judgment in underinsured motorist claim.
  • Thompson v. Fields Gutter & Siding, Inc., 18 N.E.2d3d 319 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014) trans den. Counsel for Defendant, Fields Gutter & Siding, Inc., arguing that client lacked legal duty to be responsible for an employee's actions in becoming intoxicated outside scope of employment.
  • Robinson v. Erie Ins. Exch., 9 N.E.3d 673 (Ind. 2014).  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., arguing interpretation of limitation on uninsured motorist coverage for property damage claim.
  • State of Indiana v. Doe, 987 N.E.2d 1066 (Ind. 2012).  Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., Manufacturers Association, and Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Inc., arguing that Indiana’s statutory cap on punitive damages should be upheld. 
  • Emergency Services Billing Corp. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 668 F.3d 459 (7th Cir. 2011).  Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., Property Casualty Insurers Assoc. of America, and Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, arguing issue of CERCLA application to volunteer fire department’s request to cover cleanup costs after motor vehicle accident. 
  • Balagtas v. Bishop, 910 N.E.2d 789 (Ind. Ct. App., 2009). Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., arguing whether insurance company can offer partial uninsured motorists coverage to commercial insured.
  • Tri-Etch, Inc. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 909 N.E.2d 997 (Ind. 2009).  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., arguing whether insurance company waives other coverage defenses if it also asserts defense that insured supplied late notice of claim.
  • Bush v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 905 N.E.2d 1003 (Ind. 2009).  Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of America, Inc. and National Association for Mutual Insurance Companies, arguing whether “bodily injury” requirement in policy for uninsured motorist coverage violated Indiana public policy.
  • Pflanz v. Foster, 888 N.E.2d 756 (Ind. 2008).  Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of America, Inc. and National Association for Mutual Insurance Companies, arguing statute of limitations for remediation on environmental claim.
  • Midtown Chiropractic v. Illinois Farmers Ins. Co., 847 N.E.2d 942 (Ind. 2006). Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc. and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, arguing issue of assignment of personal injury claim to chiropractors.
  • Barclay v. State Auto Insurance Companies, 831 N.E.2d 745 (Ind. 2005) trans. den., Counsel for Amici Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc. and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, arguing policy interpretation by Court of Appeals and impact on insurance industry.
  • Menefee v. Schurr, et. al., 751 N.E.2d 757 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001) trans. den., 774 N.E.2d 511 (Ind. 2002).  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., arguing issue of cause of action for third party bad faith by insurance company.
  • Jesse v. American Comm. Mut. Ins. Co., 735 N.E.2d 238 (Ind. 2000).  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Insurance Institute of Indiana, Inc., arguing issue of rescission of insurance policy for material misrepresentation.
  • Economy Fire & Cas. Co. v. Collins, 643 N.E.2d 382 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994) trans. den.  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Indiana Insurance Institute, arguing issue of insurance company liability for excess verdicts.
  • Richey v. Chappell, 594 N.E.2d 443 (Ind. 1992).  Counsel for Amicus Curiae, Indiana Defense Lawyers Association, arguing issue of discoverability of insureds statement to insurer.

Honors & Awards

  • Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV
  • Listed In The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Insurance Law, 2013-2017
  • Listed In Indiana Super Lawyers®, 2010-2017

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Insurance Coverage Section
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana
    • Legislative Chair, Insurance Coverage Committee, 2009 - 2010
    • Secretary, Insurance Coverage Section, 2001-2002
    • Appellate Advocacy Liaison of Young Lawyers Committee, 1998-1999
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • Indianapolis Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Panelist, ICivics Education Workshop for Indiana Teachers, April 13, 2012

Publications

Presentations

  • Recent Insurance Law Decisions, Indiana Department of Insurance, September 18, 2015.
  • Qualified Settlement Offers / Pre-Judgment Interest Demands / Proposals for Settlement, Personal Injury Claims: The Insurance Defense Perspective, National Business Institute, August 21, 2015. 
  • Real World Mediation and Trial Tactics, Personal Injury Claims: The Insurance Defense Perspective, National Business Institute, August 21, 2015.
  • 18th Annual Trial Advocacy Skills College, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, March 18-22, 2015, Faculty Member.
  • As Judges See It: Best (and Worst) Practices in Civil Litigation, National Business Institute, November 7, 2014, Moderator.
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation 2013, Causes of Action/Pleadings: Current Issues and Emerging Trends, Discovery Tactics and Disputes, National Business Institute, November 14, 2013.
  • Insurance Coverage Issues Inside and Out, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, October 2, 2013.
  • The Art of the Settlement, National Business Institute, November 16, 2012.
  • Arson for Profit, Indiana Chapter of Indiana Association of Special Investigator Units, October 4, 2012.
  • Construction Accident Litigation, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, December 6, 2012.
  • The Art of the Settlement,  National Business Institute, November 16, 2012.
  • Arson for Profit,  International Association of Special Investigation Units, Indiana Chapter, October 4, 2012.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Law 101, National Business Institute, September 4, 2011.
  • Handling the Auto Injury Claim, National Business Institute, April 15, 2011.

Civic & Community Involvement

  • Hanover College
    • Alumni Board, 2008 – 2011
    • Alumni Board for Indianapolis, 2006
    • Center for Business Preparation Alumni Leadership Council, 2004 - present
    • Member, Alumni Club of Indianapolis
  • Judge Pro Tem
    • Marion County Small Claims Court
      • Perry Township Division
      • Wayne Township Division
    • Marion County Superior Courts 4 and 5 (Civil)
  • Plainfield Girls Basketball Association Coach
  • Plainfield Girls Softball League Coach
  • Plainfield United Methodist Church
    • Endowment Chair, 2007 - 2010
    • Endowment Committee Member, 2015 - present
    • Fongo d’Congo Charity Bike Race Committee, 2011 - present
  • Upward Basketball Girls Coach

In The News

Practice Areas

Bar Admissions

  • State of Indiana, 1990

Courts of Practice

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1991

Education

  • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, J.D., 1990
  • Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana, B.A., 1987