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COA affirms Pennsylvania proper forum for complaint

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a producer of limestone and other products must file its complaint for indemnification in Pennsylvania based on its contract with a trucking company, and not Lake County, Ind.  

Carmeuse Lime & Stone and Carmeuse Lime Inc. filed a complaint in Lake Superior Court against Illini State Trucking Inc. seeking indemnification based on their contract with Illini after one of the trucking company’s subcontractors received chemical burns on Carmeuse’s property. The injured subcontractor John Ruiz sued Carmeuse in Lake County alleging premises liability.

Before Carmeuse filed its suit in state court, it filed a similar third-party complaint in federal court, where Ruiz’s lawsuit was pending. The federal judge dismissed Carmeuse’s complaint without prejudice because it failed to allege any facts that Ruiz’s personal injuries were cause by Illini’s performance under the agreement or the negligent acts or omissions of Illini.

After Carmeuse submitted in state court the proposed amended complaint and controlling contract as an attachment to its motion for leave to amend, Illini raised the issue that Lake County was not the proper forum based on the contract between the two companies. The contract states that any legal action related to the contract shall be brought in Allegheny County, Pa.

The Lake Superior judge dismissed the complaint and denied the motion to amend brought by Carmeuse.

In Carmeuse Lime & Stone and Carmeuse Lime, Inc. v. Illini State Trucking, Inc., 45A03-1211-CC-462, Judge Elaine Brown pointed out when Carmeuse initially filed its complaint in state court, Illini didn’t know how to respond because the complaint was averred as if it were submitted by a third-party plaintiff asking for indemnification against the claims of an injured plaintiff and it did not contain a copy of the contract at issue.

“Further, Carmeuse does not cite to authority for its proposition that because Illini did not assert the forum selection clause when it responded to Carmeuse’s third party complaint in the federal action it waived its ability to rely on the clause in a subsequent state court action,” she wrote. “Carmeuse also does not cite to authority that because the contract had been previously litigated in federal court, Illini was on notice, so to speak, regarding the forum selection provision of the contract, and that accordingly it was required to raise the forum selection clause in its original motion to dismiss despite the fact that the contract had not been attached to the original complaint. Under these circumstances, we cannot say that Illini waived its ability to raise the forum selection clause with the court.”

Enforcing the forum selection clause was not unjust or unreasonable. Carmeuse is not barred under the doctrine of res judicata from bringing the complaint against Illini in the proper forum, the COA ruled.
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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