ILNews

Electric cooperative owed no duty to injured contractor

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. 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?

  3. 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"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

ADVERTISEMENT