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Court reduces $1.4M judgment in dispute over work done at Honda plant

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that Greensburg-based Custom Conveyor Inc. is only entitled to recover about a tenth of the original $1.4 million awarded to it on breach of contract and warranty claims the company made against a subcontractor regarding work on the Indiana Honda plant.

Honda hired CCI, which specializes in installing conveyor systems in factories, to install the necessary systems in the plant it was building in Greensburg. CCI subcontracted computer programming and electrical control box work to L.H. Controls Inc. There were issues with L.H. completing work on time. The delays resulted in pushing the conveyor installation back three months, but that did not affect the opening of the factory.

L.H. sought payment for unpaid invoices from CCI, which it did not pay, so L.H. filed a mechanic’s lien against the Honda plant as well as a personal liability notice against Honda. CCI eventually paid a portion of the invoices, withholding more than $80,000 in chargebacks. L.H. sued Honda and CCI in 2009 for breach of contract and to enforce the personal liability notice against Honda and foreclose the mechanic’s lien. Honda was eventually dismissed and CCI counterclaimed for breach of contract and warranty and indemnification.

The trial court found L.H. breached its contract with CCI in 12 ways, had a contractual obligation to indemnify CCI, and breached warranties. It ultimately awarded CCI damages against L.H. in the amount of $1,409,896.97, which later went up to $1,467,587.61 after factoring in attorney fees and costs.

In L.H. Controls, Inc. v. Custom Conveyor, Inc., 16A05-1111-PL-606, the Court of Appeals reversed the lost profit damages of $1,144,470 awarded to CCI, the $133,328.53 in attorney fees, and the award of damages of $82,184.10 for CCI’s chargebacks, as well as $5,259.38 in set-off for L.H. the court allowed against the chargebacks amount.

Judge Michael Barnes wrote the appellate court could not discern any conceivable basis upon which to affirm the award of lost profit damages against L.H. in any amount. CCI is entitled to seek to make a profit on projects it completes, but there is nothing in the trial court’s findings or the record that would support shifting that expectation onto the back of L.H., he continued.

There is no plain language in the master construction agreement’s indemnity provision that clearly and unambiguously states L.H. would be required to indemnify CCI for all costs associated with any cause of action asserted even by parties to the agreement in a breach of contract action between the parties, the judges held. L.H. would not be required to pay CCI’s attorney fees.

The trial court also erred in including the $82,000 in chargebacks.

The judges did affirm $8,005.86 in costs related to CCI’s removal of the mechanic’s lien against Honda’s property. That amount combined with the damages L.H. did not challenge on appeal – which totaled $104,858.60 – means CCI is only entitled to $112,864.46.

 

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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