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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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  2. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  3. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  4. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  5. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

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