COA affirms judgment in coverage dispute between insurance companies

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s judgment regarding indemnification clauses and coverage under insurance policies. The issue came before the trial court after a worker sought compensation for severe injuries he sustained when he was electrocuted on the construction site of a Wal-Mart in Boone County.

Wal-Mart hired MacDougall Pierce Construction Inc. as the general contractor on the construction. K.B. Electric was a subcontractor on the site and it employed James Wethington. He was catastrophically injured while working at the project, alleging Wal-Mart and MacDougall were negligent by choosing to leave the power on while he worked in order to save time on completion of the building.

MacDougall had insurance through Amerisure; K.B. Electric had insurance through West Bend. Amerisure declined to participate in the defense efforts. The trial court granted MacDougall’s and Amerisure’s motions, finding West Bend had a duty to defend/indemnify Wal-Mart, MacDougall and K.B. Electric.

“We reject West Bend’s argument that the inclusion of language in Paragraph 4 and omission of that language in Paragraph 21 creates an ambiguity in the Subcontract such that West Bend is not primarily responsible for providing coverage for Wethington’s claims. What is clear from the wording of the Subcontract is that K.B. Electric was required to indemnify Wal-Mart and MacDougall, and that West Bend, as K.B. Electric’s insurer, was required to provide coverage if the loss was a covered loss,” Judge James Kirsch wrote in West Bend Mutual Insurance Company and K.B. Electric, LLC v. MacDougal Pierce Construction, Inc., Amerisure Insurance Company, et al., 06A01-1304-CT-162.  

The judges also disagreed with West Bend’s contention that the trial court’s decision on the indemnification issue was premature.

“The parties’ rights and liabilities to each other were outlined contractually by the terms of indemnification,” he wrote. “Once that determination was made, then the insurance coverage issues could be resolved. Thus, the trial court’s decision on indemnification was not premature, but in fact, necessary to prevent the hazards of circular litigation.

The subcontract K.B. Electric entered into with MacDougall explicitly referred to the prime contract MacDougall had with Wal-Mart and other documents, incorporating their terms into the subcontract. That K.B. Electric obtained umbrella coverage from West Bend further evinces the understanding that K.B. Electric was required to do just that, the court held.  


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues