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High Court accepts 7 transfers

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken seven cases on transfer, including a case in which the lower appellate court was split on a construction manager’s duty to an injured worker.

In The Hunt Construction Group, et al. v. Shannon D. Garrett, No. 49S02-1106-CT-365, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that many provisions of the contracts Hunt Construction entered into gave the company significant duties regarding safety on the jobsite, so it owed a duty to Shannon Garrett. Garrett, an employee of Baker Concrete, was injured while working on Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Judge Ezra Friedlander dissented on this point, believing the majority disregarded the provisions that limited Hunt Construction’s duties regarding safety and that their holding “will fundamentally alter contracts” of this nature and make it “virtually impossible for a contractor taking on the role of construction manager to limit its liability so as not to become an insurer of safety for workers of other contractors.”

The justices also accepted:
-    McCord Investments, LLC, et al. v. Sawmill Creek, LLC, et al., No. 49S02-1106-CV-364, in which the Court of Appeals affirmed the order granting the motion filed by Sawmill Creek to set aside a tax deed the auditor issued to McCord Investments because Sawmill Creek’s owner wasn’t provided constitutionally adequate notice of the tax sale;

-    Phyllis Hardy, et al. v. Mary Jo Hardy, No. 51S01-1106-PL-366, in which the COA held that the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act preempts state law claims brought by Phyllis Hardy seeking to keep her and her grandchild as beneficiaries of her ex-husband’s life insurance policy;

-    Thomas Dexter v. State of Indiana, No. 79S05-1106-CR-367, in which the COA affirmed Thomas Dexter’s conviction of Class A felony neglect of a dependent and determination of his habitual offenders status, finding expert witness testimony was admissible and the jury was properly instructed;

-    Richard S. Emmons v. State of Indiana, No. 79S04-1106-CR-368, in which the appellate court upheld the decision to deny Richard Emmons’ motion for sentence modification in a not-for-publication opinion;

-    Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 35S02-1106-CR-369, where the COA reversed the revocation of Troy Smith’s probation for not paying child support weekly, which was a condition of his probation. The judges held that a trial court may revoke probation for not satisfying a financial obligation only if the state proves by a preponderance of the evidence that there is less than full payment and the probationer submitted that smaller payment recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally. They found the state didn’t meet this burden of evidence to revoke Smith’s probation; and

-    Lamar M. Crawford v. State of Indiana, No. 49S05-1106-CR-370, in which the high court issued an opinion June 23.

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