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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

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  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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