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Judges rule in favor of homeowner

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A trial court did not err when it found in favor of a homeowner on his breach of contract claim against the contractor he hired to repair his clay tile roof following a storm, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.

James McCulloch hired Steinrock Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. to repair damage to his roof for around $95,000. McCulloch withheld his final payment of $15,000 to the company after finding deficiencies in the work completed, including falling and warped tiles. Steinrock sued for the unpaid balance in the amount of $20,096; McCulloch filed a counterclaim asserting the company installed the roof in a negligent manner.

Two roofing experts testified at trial that the roof would need repairs, although their estimates differed about the extent and cost of repairs. Steinrock admitted that some of the work would need redone but that the costs would only be about $6,000. The trial court found in favor of McCulloch, awarding him damages of $54,962, the difference between one expert’s estimate of $75,059 to repair the roof, less the balance due to Steinrock under the contract in the amount of $20,096.  

The COA affirmed in Steinrock Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. v. James S. McCulloch, PNC Bank, N.A., No. 22A05-1108-CC-457, finding the trial court did not err in applying the rationale in Richey v. Chappel, 594 N.E.2d 443 (Ind. 1990), in these circumstances and quashing subpoenas that Steinrock had filed in an attempt to obtain the claims file information from McCulloch’s insurance carrier. The judges also affirmed the ruling in favor of McCulloch on Steinrock’s defamation claim. The company alleged McCulloch’s calling to the company and asking the receptionist if the company was still in business was a defamatory statement, but no evidence was presented that anyone else had heard this inquiry, that McCulloch told anyone about his question, or that it affected business.

The judges affirmed the damage award in favor of McCulloch was proper.

 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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