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COA will not reweigh California environmental cleanup decisions

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that it would not reweigh California court decisions in favor of insurers who had no responsibility to cover environmental cleanup costs at former Thomson plants.

“There do not seem to be any special circumstances in this case that would warrant departure from the general rule that comity favors deference to the California courts,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the unanimous panel. “The trial court did not abuse its discretion in deferring to the California decision.”

At issue in Thomson, Inc. n/k/a Technicolor USA, Inc., Technicolor Inc., and Technicolor Limited v. Continental Casualty Co., Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., et al., 49A02-1202-PL-80, were the costs of environmental cleanup at facilities Thomson owned, including two sites in Marion and one in Fort Wayne that Thomson had purchased from Technicolor.

In 2010, a California trial court issued a summary judgment concluding that California law applied to the interpretation of policies regarding the Technicolor sites, and California courts upheld the decision on appeal.

“Thomson did not file for summary judgment on the choice-of-law question in the Indiana action until approximately ten months after the California trial court had already ruled against it on the same question, and there is no indication that the California suit was not proceeding normally in the California court system,” Bradford wrote.

“We believe it is also worth noting that the effect of giving deference to the California decision has the effect of applying California law to those sites contaminated by Technicolor, apparently a California-based company before Thomson’s acquisition, and applying Indiana law to those sites contaminated by Thomson, an Indiana-based company, including three sites in Indiana.”


 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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