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Court reverses ruling in Plymouth church insurer's suit against contractors

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated an insurer’s case against contractors who built a Plymouth church gymnasium addition in 2008 in which the basketball court floor was ruined when a frozen sprinkler burst eight months later.

The court reversed and remanded a Marshall Circuit Court ruling of summary judgment for the defendants in Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company as Subrogee of Plymouth Wesleyan Church v. Michiana Contracting, Inc., McGrath Refrigeration, Inc., John D. McGrath, Joseph A. Dzierla and Assoc., Inc., et al., 50A03-1111-CT-518.

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance paid a $37,355.80 claim to repair the floor and brought suit against the contractors. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the basis that a contract for the addition was subject to a waiver of subrogation.  

On appeal, Brotherhood argued the waiver didn’t apply because the church installed the wood floor on the basketball court. The trial court had determined that the installation of the court was within the scope of the work under the contract.

“Brotherhood asserts the wooden gym floor, which was the subject of the insurance claim, was not “Work” because, while Michiana poured and sealed the concrete for the gym floor, the Church installed the wood floor atop the concrete without assistance from Michiana,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the unanimous panel. “In addition, Brotherhood contends the contract does not contain exact specifications for the installation of the wooden gym floor; instead, the contract mentions the gym floor as a series of options.”

“The wooden gym floor therefore was not within the ‘Scope of Work’ for the project and therefore was not subject to the waiver of subrogation. Therefore, we reverse the summary judgment and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion,” May wrote.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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