Lack of transcript limits review of fire damages award on appeal

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A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected an appeal seeking full compensation after an Allen County fire in large part because the appealing party included no transcript of the trial court proceedings.

A jury found that a company breached its contract to insulate a building after a worker dropped a portable light onto the attic floor and installed insulation over the fixture, resulting in the fire. The jury then used the Indiana Comparative Fault Act to determine the contractor was 55 percent to blame and the building owner 45 percent. The building owner was awarded $154,144.65 of the total damages of $280,263.

In Lifeline Youth & Family Services v. Installed Building Products, Inc. d/b/a Momper Insulation, 02A03-1211-CT-502, Lifeline won the breach of contract ruling but appealed a trial court denial of its motion to correct error, arguing it should have been awarded the full amount of damages. Lifeline claims the jury erroneously applied comparative fault to its breach of contract claim.

“Momper argues that Lifeline has waived any challenge to the jury’s award of damages because Lifeline ‘did not object to the [damages] verdict before the jury was dismissed,’” Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote for the panel that also included judges Michael Barnes and James Kirsch.

“Lifeline responds to Momper’s argument by chastising Momper for stating that Lifeline did not object to the jury’s damages verdict without citing to the Transcript or Appendix. Nevertheless, Lifeline then does the same thing and asserts — without citation to the record — that it objected to the damages verdict ‘[u]pon completion of the trial’ and made an ‘oral motion’ asking the trial court to increase the damages award to $280,263.00,” Pyle wrote.

Failure to include the transcript in this case contravened Indiana Appellate Rule 9(F)(5), the panel noted.

“Our Indiana Supreme Court has addressed an appellant’s failure to include a transcript on appeal when factual issues are presented and held that ‘[a]lthough not fatal to the appeal, failure to include a transcript works a waiver of any specifications of error which depend upon the evidence,’” the panel ruled.

“Because Lifeline relies on the evidence presented during the jury trial in support of its argument challenging the amount of the jury’s damages verdict, we must conclude that Lifeline has waived any such damages argument and has failed to prove that the trial court abused its discretion by denying its motion to correct error,” Pyle wrote.




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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues