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Judges rule in favor of homeowner

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A trial court did not err when it found in favor of a homeowner on his breach of contract claim against the contractor he hired to repair his clay tile roof following a storm, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.

James McCulloch hired Steinrock Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. to repair damage to his roof for around $95,000. McCulloch withheld his final payment of $15,000 to the company after finding deficiencies in the work completed, including falling and warped tiles. Steinrock sued for the unpaid balance in the amount of $20,096; McCulloch filed a counterclaim asserting the company installed the roof in a negligent manner.

Two roofing experts testified at trial that the roof would need repairs, although their estimates differed about the extent and cost of repairs. Steinrock admitted that some of the work would need redone but that the costs would only be about $6,000. The trial court found in favor of McCulloch, awarding him damages of $54,962, the difference between one expert’s estimate of $75,059 to repair the roof, less the balance due to Steinrock under the contract in the amount of $20,096.  

The COA affirmed in Steinrock Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. v. James S. McCulloch, PNC Bank, N.A., No. 22A05-1108-CC-457, finding the trial court did not err in applying the rationale in Richey v. Chappel, 594 N.E.2d 443 (Ind. 1990), in these circumstances and quashing subpoenas that Steinrock had filed in an attempt to obtain the claims file information from McCulloch’s insurance carrier. The judges also affirmed the ruling in favor of McCulloch on Steinrock’s defamation claim. The company alleged McCulloch’s calling to the company and asking the receptionist if the company was still in business was a defamatory statement, but no evidence was presented that anyone else had heard this inquiry, that McCulloch told anyone about his question, or that it affected business.

The judges affirmed the damage award in favor of McCulloch was proper.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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