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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

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  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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