Getrag KG v. Walbridge Aldinger Company - 8/26/14

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Tuesday  August 26, 2014 
1:30 PM  EST

1:30 p.m. 80A02-1310-CC-860. Getrag Getriebe-und Zahnradfabrik Hermann Hagenmeyer GMBH & CIE KG and Getrag International GMBH (collectively, “Getrag KG”) bring this interlocutory appeal from the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss the complaint of Walbridge Aldinger Company (“Walbridge”) pursuant to Indiana Trial Rules 12(B)(2) and 12(B)(5).  Getrag KG is a German limited partnership with its principal place of business in Germany and Walbridge is a Michigan corporation with its principal place of business in Michigan.  According to Walbridge’s complaint, Getrag KG is a leading manufacturer of dual-clutch transmissions, and in 2006 Getrag KG and Chrysler Group LLC agreed to jointly develop a manufacturing plant in Tipton for the purpose of manufacturing dual-clutch transmissions for Chrysler automobiles.  Walbridge alleges that Getrag KG hired it to construct this plant, but, in late 2008, Getrag KG ordered Walbridge to stop construction and refused to pay Walbridge more than $35 million in expenses that Walbridge had incurred.  Attached to Walbridge’s complaint were numerous purchase orders, each of which states that the parties shall abide by certain terms and conditions.  Among these terms and conditions is a requirement that any disputes between the parties be resolved in Germany and pursuant to German law.  As such, Getrag KG moved to dismiss Walbridge’s complaint.  The trial court denied Getrag KG’s motion pursuant to Indiana Code Section 32-28-3-17, which declares “void” any “provision in a contract for the improvement of real estate in Indiana” that “makes the contract subject to the laws of another state” or “requires litigation . . . on the contract occur in another state.”  On appeal, Getrag KG asserts that the terms and conditions are binding under Indiana law, that Indiana Code Section 32-28-3-17 does not apply on these facts, and that, if it did apply, the statute would be preempted by the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany.

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