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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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