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Court rules in favor of subcontractor suing Fort Wayne

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court properly granted summary judgment for a subcontractor seeking payment from the city of Fort Wayne after the general contractor working on the city park project declared bankruptcy.

In The City of Fort Wayne v. Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc d/b/a All-Phase Electric Supply Co., 02A04-1306-CC-283, the city argued All-Phase Electric Supply Co. did not comply with the notice requirements of I.C. 36-1-12-12, which provides a right of recovery to an unpaid subcontractor. General contractor Lights & Signals Inc. was awarded the park project but didn’t pay the more than $24,000 owed to All-Phase for its supplies. The city paid LSI 95 percent of the contract price.

All-Phase sent notice of the nonpayment to Fort Wayne Mayor Thomas C. Henry in April 2011. All-Phase said it had supplied materials through Feb. 7, 2011, making the notice timely under the 60-day window for unpaid claims. In All-Phase’s request for admissions, the city admitted that All-Phase supplied materials on or about Dec. 14, 2010, through Feb. 7, 2011. The city received the notice of claim April 6, 2011.

“As the moving party, All-Phase made a prima facie showing that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to its right to recover under Indiana Code section 36-1-12-12; the City failed to establish the contrary,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote. The judges found that the mayor, based on the language of this section, was properly served.

The judges also found the city is bound by its admission and cannot now try to exclude Feb. 7 from the range of time All-Phase provided materials.

“We agree that the admission establishes that All-Phase provided materials at some point or points during the date range, not throughout. But the City plainly admitted that All-Phase provided materials during the period from on or about December 14, 2010, through February 7, 2011,” Vaidik wrote.
 

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