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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. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

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  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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