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Texas Roadhouse fire suit among 4 justices take

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A lawsuit over liability for a fire that destroyed an Indianapolis steakhouse because hydrants were frozen and unusable will proceed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Justices granted transfer in Veolia Water Indianapolis LLC, City of Indianapolis Department of Waterworks, and City of Indianapolis v. National Trust Insurance Company and FCCI Insurance Company a/s/o Ultra Steak, Inc. d/b/a Texas Roadhouse, 49S04-1301-PL-8. It was one of four cases granted transfer for the week ending Jan. 4. The transfer list may be viewed here.  

In the Texas Roadhouse case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court, finding that the city of Indianapolis and water company – which contracts with the city to operate the water utility – are entitled to common law immunity from a lawsuit brought by the restaurant and its insurers because of the fire. The plaintiffs argued that the frozen hydrants, which delayed firefighters’ ability to put out the fire, were a result of the hydrants not being properly closed by private parties who paid the defendants for water use.

The trial court had concluded that the commercial sale of water took the city’s and utility’s actions outside the scope of common law immunity for firefighting. The trial court also held that the insurers were third-party beneficiaries of Veolia’s contract with the city.

The justices also granted transfer to:

•    Andrew McWhorter v. State of Indiana, 33S01-1301-PC-7, in which a man convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Henry Circuit Court won a reversal from the Court of Appeals and a remand for retrial on a charge of reckless homicide;
•    Ronald G. Becker v. State of Indiana, 45S03-1301-CR-9, in which a Lake Superior Court and the Court of Appeals affirmed an order vacating a determination that Ronald Becker was entitled to relief from registering as a sexually violent predator on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry.
•    Kevin Clark v. State of Indiana, 20S05-1301-CR-10, in which the Court of Appeals affirmed admission of evidence and police testimony that led a jury to convict Kevin Clark of Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine and sentence him to 45 years in prison.

Justices denied transfer in 26 cases.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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