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COA clarifies ruling in negligent hiring lawsuit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed their decision to reverse the grant of an insurer’s motion for summary judgment against the parent company of a hotel. On rehearing, the appellate court denied that the other defendants involved in the lawsuit should benefit from the decision regarding Holiday Hospitality Franchising because the other parties didn’t appeal the original ruling.

In Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. AMCO Company, et al., No. 33A01-1103-CT-104, Holiday Inn Express of New Castle and Anil Megha, argued on rehearing that the reversal of summary judgment with regards to Holiday Hospitality should apply to them as well. The three were parties in a negligent hiring suit, in which the parent of R.H.M., a 15-year-old guest at the New Castle hotel, sued after the teen was molested by a hotel employee. The trial court ruled that the molestation wasn’t an “occurrence” as that term is defined in the hotel’s insurance policy with AMCO Insurance Co.

Only Holiday Hospitality appealed the trial court ruling, but now the other defendants claim the reversal of summary judgment should apply to them as well, citing Appellate Rule 17(A), which says “a party of record in the trial court … shall be a party on appeal.”

“We agree with the Petitioners that, contrary to the footnote in our opinion, all parties to the trial court proceeding below are parties on appeal. However, this does not necessitate that the procedural disposition of our opinion, the reversal of summary judgment as to Holiday Hospitality, apply to any party other than Holiday Hospitality,” wrote Chief Judge Margret Robb. “The other Petitioners forfeited the right to appeal the trial court’s grant of summary judgment against them.”

 

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