Real Estate/Construction

Inaccurate drain location data causes city to lose negligence suit

January 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the city of Fort Wayne did not provide accurate locations of its drains to a utility company involved in constructing an underground monolith, its negligence suit against the utility company can’t survive summary judgment. An underground drain was damaged during the process, causing flooding in the area.
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Jury should decide whether Duke Realty intended to get law partner fired

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There are genuine issues of material fact as to whether Duke Realty, involved in a dispute over a land agreement with a Parr Richey Obremskey & Morton partner, intentionally induced the firm to terminate Carol Sparks Drake’s partnership agreement and whether that interference was justified, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Verification letters support estoppel argument

November 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A series of verification letters from a subcontractor to a contractor provided the grounds for the doctrine of promissory estoppel from being applied to commercial transactions.
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Court rules in favor of subcontractor suing Fort Wayne

November 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court properly granted summary judgment for a subcontractor seeking payment from the city of Fort Wayne after the general contractor working on the city park project declared bankruptcy.
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Retailer properly terminated lease, COA rules in reversal

November 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A retail chain that closed an underperforming store in a Hendricks County shopping center had a contractual right to do so under its lease, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in reversing a judgment in favor of the plaza owner.
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COA finds mechanic's lien statute requires only substantial compliance

October 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The homeowner's lawyer seeks rehearing, arguing that differing names between the pre-lien and mechanic's lien makes the lien invalid.
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Marion County, Simon tangle over valuation of Indianapolis malls

October 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
Arguments in two cases before the Indiana Tax Court in recent weeks featured wildly divergent views of the valuation of two Indianapolis shopping malls that have seen better days.
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Library may go after contractors for cleanup costs outside building

October 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A diesel fuel leak in the basement of the main library branch in Fort Wayne spread to neighboring property, leading to more than $490,000 in cleanup bills. The Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the library may pursue recovery against contractors it argues are responsible for the leak.
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Court rules against Menard on roofing company’s lawsuit for payment

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered summary judgment entered in favor of a roofing services company on claims of breach of contract against Menard Inc., finding Menard was unable to establish a dispute of material fact as to its right to withhold payment.
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Contractor owed no duty to worker injured during construction of Carmel arts center

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Summary judgment for a contractor on the Carmel Regional Performing Arts Center construction was appropriate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, rejecting an injured worker’s argument that a duty was owed to him based on federal workplace safety regulations.
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Sub shop’s appeal 86’d by court

October 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Jersey Mike’s Subs located in the now-closed College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend didn’t have the right to continue operating in the Hall of Fame building, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the operating agreement.
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Reversal: Trust bears liability for builder’s nonpayment despite lien notice discrepancies

September 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trust that won summary judgment at the trial court against a supplier of building materials for construction of a home on Lake Michigan got the opposite result from an appeals court Friday. The trust is liable, even though it paid builders who failed to reimburse the supplier for materials provided on credit.
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Brown County logging damages award stands

August 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A landowner’s award of $55,572.50 in damages caused by a logging contractor at a property in Brown County was properly calculated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Sewer district owed refund in easement dispute

July 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the White Circuit Court clerk to refund the thousands of dollars a sewer district overpaid in damages for easements on a couple’s property to construct sewers. The appellate court held that the trial court improperly admitted the court-appointed appraisal report.
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COA finds argument that documents were ambiguous is really ‘a failure to read’

July 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A real estate investor who argued that he should not be held personally liable because the loan documents were ambiguous was reminded by the Indiana Court of Appeals that “a failure to read does not equate with an ambiguity….” 
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Supreme Court kicks ‘buyer beware’ vs. disclosure case back to trial court

June 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Lake County dispute over whether a buyer or seller is responsible for a few thousand dollars worth of home defects is headed back to the trial court after a divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a legal do-over.
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Defendant in trial over concert hall defects tries to halt repairs

June 7, 2013
Andrea Muirragui Davis
Attorneys for the Michigan contractor being sued over construction defects at Carmel’s Palladium concert hall have asked a Hamilton County court to halt repair work immediately to preserve evidence in the case.
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Panel disagrees as to when woman failed to mitigate damages

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
By a vote of 2-1, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday reduced nearly $94,000 in damages to just $117 after finding the seller of a condo failed to mitigate her damages after the buyers backed out of the sale over repairs. Judge Cale Bradford believed seller Gayle Fischer was entitled to the original damages award.
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Indy organization part of first-ever settlement involving REO properties

June 6, 2013
IL Staff
The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana is one of 13 fair-housing organizations that will split a $27 million settlement from Wells Fargo Bank with the National Fair Housing Alliance after a complaint alleged the bank better maintained its real estate properties in white neighborhoods.
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Trial set in Carmel's complaint on Palladium construction

May 1, 2013
Andrea Muirragui Davis
Mediation is scheduled for May 21 in a 2-year-old lawsuit the city of Carmel brought over defects discovered during construction of its signature Palladium concert hall.
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Man entitled to benefits for injuries sustained on the job

April 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a construction supervisor’s receipt of unemployment benefits didn’t preclude him from eligibility for temporary total disability benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a total award of more than $61,000 to the injured worker.
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Judges rule on contractor dispute over new FBI headquarters

April 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
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.
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Many efforts arise to address abandoned property, few go forward

March 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
State Sen. Jim Merritt wanted to help an eastside Indianapolis church gain possession of some long-abandoned, derelict houses, tear them down and establish a neighborhood park. But it turned out there wasn’t much the law allowed the church to do.
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Renovation project raises questions on public bidding

March 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Contractors claim in lawsuit that a school corporation's financing method circumvented the law.
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Gerdt Furniture owners embroiled in $4M court fight

March 14, 2013
Scott Olson
A family dispute involving the owners of Gerdt Furniture & Interiors Inc. has led to a lawsuit accusing them of owing nearly $4 million in unpaid rent and loans.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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