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Library may go after contractors for cleanup costs outside building

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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.

The appeals panel reversed a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in Allen County Public Library v. Shambaugh & Son, L.P., Hamilton Hunter Builders, Inc., W.A. Sheets & Sons, Inc., and MSKTD & Associates, Inc., 02A04-1302-PL-78, and remanded for proceedings.

Judge Michael Barnes wrote for a unanimous panel that subrogation provisions in an American Institute of Architects’ construction project contract used in a 2004 library renovation project did not clear defendants from liability in this case, citing Midwestern Indemnity Company v. Systems Builders, Inc., 801 N.E.2d 661 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), trans. denied.

“We held that the waiver of subrogation provision of the AIA standard contract — section 11.3.7, as here — applied even though construction had already been completed, and also that the waiver applied to negligence claims against the subcontractor,” Barnes wrote for the panel that also included Judges Terry Crone and Rudy R. Pyle III.

“Consistent with our holding in Midwestern, we conclude that the Library is not precluded by Section 11.3.7 of the standard AIA contract from seeking recovery for pollution cleanup costs for property contaminated by the Defendants’ allegedly faulty construction that is outside the scope of ‘the Work’ for which the Defendants were contracted to perform,” Barnes wrote. “Namely, the Defendants may be required to reimburse the Library for cleanup costs of the land outside of the library building itself. We reverse the grant of summary judgment to the Defendants and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”


 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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