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Court rules against Menard on roofing company’s lawsuit for payment

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered summary judgment entered in favor of a roofing services company on claims of breach of contract against Menard Inc., finding Menard was unable to establish a dispute of material fact as to its right to withhold payment.

Menard hired North American Roofing Services Inc. in 2007 to build a roof on its new store in Princeton. After heavy rains, the partially constructed building collapsed and fell on two workers, injuring them and resulting in lawsuits. The contract between NARSI and Menard contained an indemnity clause. Article 9, Section E outlined under what circumstances Menard may decline to pay NARSI for its work.

NARSI completed the roofing job, and the store opened for business. Menard refused to pay NARSI, claiming that NARSI was contractually obligated to indemnify it against liabilities resulting from the roof collapse. NARSI filed a mechanic’s lien against the store and later filed suit to foreclose upon the lien. NARSI amended its complaint to add a claim of breach of contract.

Menard and NARSI entered into settlement agreements with the injured workers. NARSI’s case remained active, to which Menard raised affirmative defenses based on the contract’s indemnification clause and Section E. It claimed those allowed it to withhold NARSI’s payment.

The trial court denied NARSI’s motion for partial summary judgment on the breach of contract claim and held that the claim to foreclose upon the mechanic’s lien must fail. Judgment was entered in favor of Menard.

In North American Roofing Services, Inc. v. Menard, Inc., 26A01-1303-PL-125, the COA found Menard failed to set forth any facts that establish a genuine dispute as to whether Menard is excused from paying NARSI under the contract due to the indemnification clause.

“Giving Section E’s unambiguous language a plain and ordinary reading, it does not justify withholding payment from NARSI once third party claims have been resolved, absent the application of some other contractual provision such as the indemnification clause. We have already determined that Menard has failed to establish a dispute of material fact as to whether the indemnification clause applies,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote.

“In order to defeat NARSI’s motion for partial summary judgment, Menard was obligated to rebut NARSI’s prima facie case for breach of contract by establishing a dispute of material fact as to its right to withhold payment. We have determined that Menard did not establish such a dispute.”

The case was ordered to move forward to resolve NARSI’s claim to foreclose upon the mechanic’s lien.
 

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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