Articles Posted in Contracts

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Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Company contracted with Emmert Industrial Corporation to transport an enormous process tower vessel to Indiana to Tennessee. Despite several troubles resulting in unforeseen costs, Emmert successfully delivered the vehicle. When Kennedy refused to pay any additional charges, Emmert sued, alleging breach of contract and, in the alternative, unjust enrichment. Kennedy moved to dismiss Emmert’s complaint, arguing that the federal statute of limitations preempts Indiana’s longer limitations period. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, finding no preemption. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Indiana’s statute of limitations is not preempted by the federal statute of limitations. View "Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Co. v. Emmert Industrial Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The State and International Business Machines, Corp. (IBM) entered into a ten-year, $1.3 billion Master Services Agreement (MSA) to modernize and improve Indiana’s welfare eligibility system. The State terminated the MSA in less than three years, stating that performance issues on the part of IBM constituted a material breach of the MSA. Both parties sued each other for breach of contract. The trial court determined that the State failed to prove that IBM materially breached the MSA. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s finding that IBM did not materially breach the MSA, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, IBM’s collective breaches were material in light of the MSA as a whole. View "State v. Int’l Bus. Machines Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Indiana State Fair Commission manages the Indiana State Fair. Since the 1990s, the Commission has utilized Mid-America Sound to provide equipment for the concerts and other events that take place at the Fair. In August 2011, on the closing night of the Fair, the Mid-America’s roof collapsed, killing seven people. The victims and families filed lawsuits, including as defendants Mid-America and the Commission. Mid-America filed a third-party lawsuit claiming that the Commission was required to indemnify it for Mid-America’s own negligence in relation to the roof collapse due to years-long course of conduct in paying invoices that had standard indemnity language on the back. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Commission. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the terms of Mid-America’s invoices to the Commission did not clearly and unequivocally provide for retroactive application, the Court will not infer such a provision from a course of dealing. View "Mid-America Sound Corp. v. Ind. State Fair Comm’n" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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James Armour’s employment contract with AM General LLC entitled him to payment of a long-term incentive plan (LTIP). When Armour retired, he was to receive a lump sum LTIP payment, but instead he started receiving quarterly installment payments in the form of checks. AM General attempted to make the final installment payment with a subordinate promissory note. Armour rejected the Note and requested full payment. Thereafter, AM General filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that it had not breached the LTIP portion of its agreement with Armour. Armour counterclaimed, asserting that AM General breached the employment agreement by failing to pay Armour the full LTIP payment when it was due and claiming that, by attempting to pay the remaining portion of the LTIP payment with a promissory note, AM General breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Armour. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding a genuine issue of material fact with regard to how “payment” could be made under the LTIP provision of the agreement. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the grant of summary judgment, holding that AM General breached its employment agreement with Armour because the Note did not constitute payment under the employment agreement. View "AM General LLC v. Armour" on Justia Law

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General Contractor hired several subcontractors to assist in contracting an IMAX theater. After the theater was completed and three of the subcontractors (“Subcontractors”) had not been paid in full for their services, the Subcontractors filed mechanic’s liens against the IMAX property and sued the General Contractor to foreclose on their respective liens in the amount due on their contracts. The trial court awarded the Subcontractors judgments against the General Contractor and awarded attorney’s fees. At issue in this case was whether, under Indiana’s mechanic’s lien statute, the Subcontractors were entitled to collect attorney’s fees incurred in foreclosing on their liens from the General Contractor, which posted a surety bond and filed an undertaking obligating it to pay attorney’s fees upon recovery of a judgment against it. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s fee award, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the Subcontractors attorney’s fees incurred in their foreclosure suits under the circumstances of this case. View "Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc. v. Fostcorp Heating & Cooling, Inc." on Justia Law

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Before he died, John Markey entered into a contract with his second wife, Frances, to make and not revoke a mutual will providing that, upon the death of whomever died later, the couple’s estate would be divided equally between John’s son, David, and Frances’s granddaughter. After John died, Frances breached the contract, instead leaving everything to her own children. Approximately nine months after Frances’s death, David filed suit to enforce the contract. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that a breach of contract regarding mutual wills is neither a “claim” in probate nor a will contest and is therefore subject to the three-month statute of limitations for suits challenging the distribution pursuant to a probated will. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the plain language of the statutory definition of “claim” under the Probate Code includes an action for breach of a contract to make and not revoke a will. Remanded to consider the timeliness of David’s claim, considered under the Probate Code. View "Markey v. Estate of Markey" on Justia Law

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Before he died, John Markey entered into a contract with his second wife, Frances, to make and not revoke a mutual will providing that, upon the death of whomever died later, the couple’s estate would be divided equally between John’s son, David, and Frances’s granddaughter. After John died, Frances breached the contract, instead leaving everything to her own children. Approximately nine months after Frances’s death, David filed suit to enforce the contract. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that a breach of contract regarding mutual wills is neither a “claim” in probate nor a will contest and is therefore subject to the three-month statute of limitations for suits challenging the distribution pursuant to a probated will. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the plain language of the statutory definition of “claim” under the Probate Code includes an action for breach of a contract to make and not revoke a will. Remanded to consider the timeliness of David’s claim, considered under the Probate Code. View "Markey v. Estate of Markey" on Justia Law

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Jefferson County awarded the first phase of its courthouse remodeling plan to a contractor. Two subcontractors aided in the repairs. While the repairs were underway, a fire severely damaged the courthouse. Jefferson County’s contract with the contractor incorporated an American Institute of Architects (AIA) standard form. The AIA contract waives subrogation rights for damages caused by fire “to the extent covered by property insurance.” Jefferson County filed a subrogation claim against the Contractors to recover damages caused to its property unrelated to repairs. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that Jefferson County had waived its claim under the AIA waiver because its insurance policy covered all the damages. The County responded that the subrogation waiver applied only to construction-related damages. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that Jefferson County had waived subrogation rights for all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plain language of the AIA contract restricts the scope of the waiver based on the source and extent of property insurance coverage, not the nature of the damages; and (2) the County agreed to waive its rights to bring this subrogation claim by relying on its existing “all-risk” property insurance policy that covered the work and all other losses suffered in the fire. View "Bd. of Comm’rs v. Teton Corp." on Justia Law

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DePuy Orthopaedics, an Indiana corporation with its principal place of business in Indiana, sold a prosthetic hip implant that Plaintiffs, nineteen individuals, had implanted during hip replacement surgeries in Virginia and Mississippi. After DePuy issued a voluntary global recall of the prosthetic hip implant Plaintiffs filed suit in Marion Superior Court, alleging injuries related to the hip replacement equipment. DePuy moved to transfer venue to Virginia and Missisippi on the grounds of forum non conveniens pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(C). The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to have reasonably concluded that Indiana was the appropriate forum for this litigation. View "DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Injury Law

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A law firm (Plaintiff) filed a quantum merit claim for part of the contingent fees earned in cases that were first handled by the law firm’s attorneys, including Defendant, and later by Defendant and his law firm after he left Plaintiff’s law firm. The trial court denied quantum merit relief, finding that Defendant was not unjustly enriched. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted transfer and (1) reversed and remanded with instructions to determine, in accordance with Galanis v. Lyons & Truitt, what proportional contributions toward the results in the cases at issue were made by attorneys working for Plaintiff, and to enter a corresponding judgment in Plaintiff’s favor; and (2) summarily affirmed the portion of the court of appeals’ opinion addressing whether Plaintiff should have sued its former clients to recover attorney fees from them. View "Cohen & Malad, LLP v. Daly" on Justia Law