Sued company should get attorney fees, COA rules

April 21, 2016

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a company that dropped a lawsuit against another for breach of warranty must still pay attorney fees of the company they sued.

Alexin LLC sued Olympic Metals LLC for breach of warranty, among other claims, after Alexin purchased scrap aluminum from Olympic and then couldn’t use it because the metal was inferior and started to burn up its boilers. Alexin first filed suit in federal court, then dropped the lawsuit and filed it in Wells Circuit Court. Alexin then dropped that suit a week before trial and paid Olympic what it owed for the sale. Olympic filed a counterclaim for attorney fees of more than $31,000, which the trial court granted. Alexin appealed.

The COA ruled Alexin should have known the sheets it accepted from Olympic Metals were deficient. A handwritten note showed the different kind of metals involved in delivery, and each metal was clearly stamped as that. Alexin caused its own problems by mixing the two alloys, resulting in inferior products. Therefore the trial court should have awarded Olympic its attorney fees at the trial court level.

Olympic also asked for appellate attorney fees, claiming omission or misstatements by Alexin, but the COA said those in question were either not misstatements or not big enough to cause any harm. Alexin did not act with bad faith, and thus should not get appellate attorney fees.

The case is Alexin LLC v. Olympic Metals LLC, 90A02-1510-CT-1608.



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