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COA rules on Kroger fuel sign dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for a developer on its claims of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and criminal conversion against grocer Kroger after the store modified a shopping plaza’s sign once it added a fueling station. There isn’t evidence that Kroger had criminal intent when it modified the sign pylon.

Kroger and developer Metro Acquisitions entered into a reciprocal easement agreement and later amendment involving a shopping center in Indianapolis. Part of the agreement addressed a sign advertising Kroger and other shops on Parcel I. The sign pylon was later moved to Parcel IV. Kroger was responsible for keeping up the sign and the other shops would pay Kroger for the maintenance.

When Kroger installed a fuel station on its property, it modified the sign by removing a portion of it to advertise for the fuel and left the other businesses’ sign panels without lighting and electricity. WC Associates, as successor in interest to Metro, paid nearly $50,000 to restore the original sign pylon.

WC sued Kroger for breach of contract, theft, criminal conversion, criminal trespass and mischief. WC filed for summary judgment; it later claimed that Kroger had submitted false affidavits. The trial judge ruled in favor of WC and awarded a total of $143,440.88 to WC.

In The Kroger Co. v. WC Associates, LLC, as successor in interest to Metro Acquisitions, LLC, No. 49A05-1108-PL-412, the COA affirmed the finding of breach of contract against Kroger. Under the agreement and amendment, WC owned the sign and the amendment and agreement detailed what Kroger had to do to maintain the sign, which did not include allowing Kroger to modify the sign pylon or attach multiple sign panels to it.

The judges reversed summary judgment on the criminal trespass, criminal mischief and criminal conversion claims because there was no evidence of criminal intent on Kroger’s part. That will be up to a jury to decide.

The trial court properly awarded sanctions against Kroger for its affidavits and WC is entitled to appellate attorney fees only with regards to the breach of contract claim, the COA held. The judges remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

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  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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