HAMMOND — State Farm filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a federal judge for a declaration regarding its responsibility to pay any settlement on behalf of an 84-year-old man convicted of murdering his late wife's longtime tax attorney.
William S. Landske, 84, was convicted of murder in August and sentenced in October to 55 years in prison for fatally shooting prominent local attorney Tracy Edward Page in August 2018 in front of Page's husband, Kevin Swanson, and two of Landske's adult daughters.
Page, 64, had served for decades as an attorney for Landske's wife, the late state Sen. Sue Landske. She died in 2015.
Attorneys for Swanson, who witnessed the ambush killing and was so grief-stricken he was unable to attend Landske's sentencing hearing, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Lake Superior Court a day after Landske's conviction. The suit named Landske and three of his adult children.
Swanson's attorney, Kenneth Allen, said Landske's children should be held accountable for not doing more to prevent Landske from harming Page.
"Landske's adult children, Jacqueline Basilotta, Cheryl Boisson and Eric Landske, were aware Landske always carried a handgun and that his behavior had become increasingly bizarre," Allen said.
Attorneys for Eric Landske, Basilotta and Boisson each have asked Special Judge Daniel J. Molter, of Newton Superior Court, to dismiss Swanson's lawsuit. A case management conference is set for next week.
In its complaint in U.S. District Court, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. asks a judge for a declaration as to the company's rights and liabilities regarding its duty to defend and indemnify William Landske.
A dispute exists among State Farm, William Landske and Swanson about State Farm's duty under Landske's homeowners policy or to pay "any settlement or judgment" related to allegations in Swanson's wrongful death suit, the complaint says.
State Farm reserved its rights Nov. 21 to deny coverage to William Landske under his homeowners policy, according to the lawsuit.
Landske has filed an appeal of his criminal conviction.