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Judges rule on contractor dispute over new FBI headquarters

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a general contractor’s motion to stay proceedings and compel arbitration regarding disputes with subcontractors, finding general contractor Welty Building Co. LTD did not waive its right to insist upon arbitration.

Welty was chosen as general contractor to construct the new FBI headquarters in Indianapolis. The building would be owned by Indy Fedreau Company LLC, and Ohio Farmers Insurance Co. provided a contract performance bond on Welty’s behalf. Welty hired 21 subcontractors to work on the project. Their agreements included an arbitration clause. But Indy Fedreau filed a lawsuit against Welty and OFIC in November 2011 alleging breach of contract, breach of bond, fraud and bad faith based on claims Welty ran up the costs of the project. Indy Fedreau also believed that Welty wasn’t timely paying the subcontractors, which resulted in mechanic’s liens. Several subcontractors also sued Welty.

Welty later filed a counterclaim in the Fedreau case, seeking to foreclose its own mechanic’s lien on the property. It joined the subcontractors with respect to the mechanic’s lien notices they had filed. This led to counterclaims being filed against Welty by the subcontractors. Welty and OFIC then sought to stay the subcontractors’ claims pending mediation and arbitration, which was denied. The trial court agreed with the subcontractors that Welty had waived its contractual right to insist upon arbitration.

“It is clear that Welty did not ‘elect’ to sue the subcontractors without first engaging in mediation or arbitration, nor did it voluntarily ‘institute’ a legal proceeding, to use the language of Article 37 of the subcontract. Welty’s hand was forced by Fedreau’s filing of the lawsuit against it, at which time Welty was compelled to countersue for foreclosure of its mechanic’s lien and to name the subcontractors as co-defendants on that claim,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Welty Building Co., LTD. and, Ohio Farmers Insurance Company v. Indy Fedreau Company, LLC, et al., 49A02-1206-PL-493.

The judges sent the case back to the trial court so that arbitration can be ordered between Welty and the subcontractors and that the litigation between those parties be stayed. The trial court did not assess whether the subcontractors’ claims against OFIC should be stayed pending arbitration, so the judges ordered the trial court to consider that issue.

 

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

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  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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