Glenn E. Younker V. EDS Third Party Liability Department, Et. Al.


H1: Contracts Law > Contract Interpretation > Ambiguities & Contra Proferentem > General Overview

Contracts Law > Defenses > Ambiguities & Mistakes > General Overview 

If a contractual provision is ambiguous, then it must be strictly construed against the drafter of the agreement. 

H2:  Insurance Law > Policy Interpretation > Ambiguous Terms > General Overview 

If a provision of an insurance policy is determined to be ambiguous, then it must be strictly construed against the insurer. 

H3: Civil Procedure > Choice of Law > General Overview

Generally, the law of the court’s jurisdiction will apply in determining choice of law. The law of the forum is used for procedural matters. 

H4: Civil Procedure > Choice of Law > General Overview

Torts > Procedural Matters > Conflict of Law > General Overview

To determine the governing law, the court must take into account these factors: the place of the injury; the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred; the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation, and place of business of the parties; the place where the relationship between the parties, if any, is located; and any factors under §6 of the 2nd Restatement of Conflict of Laws 10, which the court may deem relevant to the litigation. 

Summary of Case

Procedural Posture: The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment for adjudication on the issue of the Defendant’s lien priority and whether the application of another state’s laws are proper in this matter. 

Overview: Plaintiff Glenn Younker was severely injured in an automobile accident that was caused by Seth Fourman. Mr. Younker was taken to Indiana where he received care for his injuries. Mr. Fourman was insured and was paid through a settlement with his insurance company a sum of $100,000, based off his policy limits. A portion of the $100,000 went to Mr. Fourman’s attorney and the remainder of the funds were deposited with the Court for distribution to Mr. Younker’s creditors in relation to Mr. Younker’s medical expenses.

Clarion Health Partners perfected a lien in the amount of $23, 633.91 under Indiana law against Mr. Younker for medical services they rendered to him. Clarion now claims that their perfected lien should have higher priority during the distribution process.

The Court is asked to determine what the appropriate law governs this issue, and, depending on the law, if the Clarion claim has higher priority over the other claims. The Court uses tort analysis to determine the governing law of this issue. 

Outcome: The Court finds that the applicable governing law is Ohio law and not Indiana law. Therefore the Defendants do not have a priority lien and their motion for summary judgment is denied.