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7th Circuit affirms for employer in rental equipment fatality

April 9, 2013

An employer bears no liability in a lawsuit brought by the estate of a man who died operating a rented 40-foot boom lift, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The 7th Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of a company that was installing thermal units at a Wal-Mart store being built in Gas City. The ruling affirms judgment by Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey of the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in NES Rentals Holdings, Inc., et al., v. Steine Cold Storage, Inc., 12-1401.

Humberto Menendez was fatally injured and his family sued Wal-Mart, NES and other parties, alleging wrongful death. His employer, Steine Cold Storage, wasn’t named, the court presumes, in light of Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act.

NES demaned that Steine indemnify and hold it harmless. “We agree with Steine that the indemnification clause in the rental agreement does not expressly state, in clear and unequivocal terms as Indiana law requires, that Steine agreed to indemnify NES for NES’s own negligence,” Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote for the court. “We therefore affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Steine.”





 

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