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Subcontractor's suit belongs in Hamilton County

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday reversed the denial by an Allen Circuit judge to remove a lawsuit brought in that county to Hamilton County, where two parties to the lawsuit had agreed in a contract any legal claims would be handled.

In City of Carmel, through its Redevelopment Commission v. Crider & Crider, Inc., Hagerman Construction Corporation, 02A04-1208-PL-416, the city of Carmel argued that the lawsuit brought in Allen County by Crider & Crider Inc. against Hagerman Construction Company and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, which involved a cross-claim brought by Hagerman against the CRC, should be heard in Hamilton County. The CRC and Hagerman entered into a contract for the company to be the prime contractor to perform limestone and concrete work during the construction of the Carmel Performing Arts Center. Their contract dictated that lawsuits should be filed in Hamilton County.

Crider, who was hired as a subcontractor by Hagerman to perform excavation work, sued Hagerman and CRC, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts denied the CRC’s request the complaint be transferred to Hamilton County. Hagerman filed a cross-complaint against the CRC alleging it should be liable for any damages recovered by Crider on its complaint against Hagerman.

Hagerman and Crider claim that Allen County is the preferred venue under Trial Rule 75; the CRC maintains Trial Rule 21 applies.

“While the preferred venue analysis in Trial Rule 75 would normally govern a case where the plaintiff has not contractually agreed to a particular venue, Trial Rule 75 is trumped in this case by Trial Rule 21(B),” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote. “After Crider filed its complaint against CRC and Hagerman, Hagerman filed a cross-claim against CRC. Due to the venue selection clause between Hagerman and CRC, it is clear that venue lies in Hamilton County as to the cross-claim between them.”

“All of the parties here agree that the original complaint and the cross-claim are ‘inextricably intertwined’ and should be decided together. Thus, Hamilton County is the appropriate venue for the entire matter,” the court concluded.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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