Electric cooperative owed no duty to injured contractor

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An independent contractor injured at a generating station owned by Bloomington-based Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative was unable to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the electric cooperative was negligent regarding his injury.

Harold Haggerty worked for C&K Industrial Services, which contracted with Hoosier Energy to provide vacuuming and other services at a generating station in Sullivan County. While Haggerty and a co-worker were vacuuming dust from the station on Nov. 1, 2008, the co-worker lost control of his end of the hose, which hit Haggerty in face, causing pain and bleeding. Hoosier Energy didn’t own or control any of the equipment used by the men that evening.

Haggerty sued Hoosier Energy for negligence; the Sullivan Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of the cooperative.

The general rule in Indiana is that a principal isn’t liable for the negligence of an independent contractor, but five exceptions to this rule are recognized. Haggerty alleged that four applied: where the contract requires the performance of intrinsically dangerous work; where the principal is by law or contract charged with performing the specific duty; where the act will create a nuisance; and where the act to be performed will probably cause injury to others unless due precaution is taken.

But there isn’t anything inherently dangerous about vacuuming dust and the work being performed that evening would not be considered a nuisance, Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote in Harold Haggerty v. Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Merom Generating Station, 77A01-1206-CT-293.

Hoosier Energy couldn’t have reasonably foreseen or prevented the accident and the contract Hoosier Energy had with C&K did not show that the energy cooperative had control of Haggerty and his co-worker and were responsible for Haggerty’s safety.

“Because Hoosier Energy successfully negated the element of duty in Haggerty’s negligence claim, we find the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Hoosier Energy,” he wrote.



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  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

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  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

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