Green & Kuchel is tremendously proud of the impact that we have made in helping our clients by providing quality legal services and exceptional customer service.
Glenn Kuchel successfully prosecuted a $35+ Million civil litigation matter securing immediate court appointment of a Receiver to protect the client’s assets and recovering all claimed damages and the entire value of the commercial loan. The case included pursuit of fraud and Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act claims against business owners.
Glenn Kuchel obtained a jury verdict for damages in excess of $1.2 Million in favor of landowners after a government settlement offer of just $2.00 in an eminent domain case.
Glenn Kuchel recently obtained significant jury trial verdict against the State of Indiana in an eminent domain case quadrupling the State’s compensation offer.
Glenn Kuchel represented a large investor group in complex civil litigation regarding a group of 7 large apartment complexes, obtaining favorable rulings to successfully force extremely client-favorable resolution.
Glenn Kuchel recently obtained an eminent domain award totaling more than $430,000 for damages for property taken by the government which offered less than $12,000.
Glenn Kuchel negotiated and drafted a significant Exclusive Master Distributor Agreement for a national producer’s expansion into new nationwide sales of heavy technical equipment.
INDIANA ANTI-INDEMNITY STATUTE, SUCCESS ON CASE OF FIRST IMPRESSION
Green & Kuchel attorneys successfully defended a motor carrier from a shipper’s indemnity claim and was allowed to pursue a counter-claim for attorney’s fees on behalf of the carrier. In August 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana addressed the Indiana Anti-Indemnity Statute I.C. §8-2.1-26-1 entitled ‘Invalidity of Indemnity Agreements in Motor Carrier Transportation Contracts.’
The case was entitled Ruiz v. Carmeuse Lime, Inc. and Illini State Trucking, Inc. v. Carmeuse Lime, Inc., 2011 WL 3439221 (N.D.Ind.). The plaintiff Ruiz originally filed a personal injury claim against Carmeuse Lime when he exited his truck after driving off a snowy road into a ditch on Carmeuse’s property. Ruiz was employed by Nick’s Transport, which was a subcontractor of Illini State Trucking. Carmeuse filed a third-party complaint against Illini for indemnification pursuant to the Motor Carrier/Shipper Agreement and eventually defaulted Illini State Trucking.
Illini got the default set aside and filed a motion to dismiss the third-party complaint stating that the Anti-Indemnity Statute applied. It is alleged in the original complaint that Carmeuse, the land owner, carelessly and negligently allowed a hazardous condition to remain on its property without warning and that the plaintiff had sued Carmeuse for those damages. Carmeuse (hereinafter Shipper) then attempted to invoke the indemnification provision of the motor carrier agreement alleging Illini (hereinafter Motor Carrier) had a duty to defend and indemnify the Shipper against those allegations in the underlying complaint.
The court, after analyzing the factual and legal situation, determined that Shipper’s third-party complaint failed to state a claim for indemnification as it did not allege that the plaintiff’s personal injuries were caused by the Motor Carrier’s performance under the agreement or the negligent acts were omissions of Motor Carrier’s employees. The allegations of the third-party complaint were totally insufficient to constitute a proper allegation against the Motor Carrier. The Federal judge then discussed the American Trucking Association’s “Model Truckload Motor Carrier/Shipper Agreement with Commentaries” and various states adopting anti-indemnification legislation citing, ‘In Transit’, ‘DRI The Voice of the Defense Bar’ and ‘CCJ Digital, Commercial Carrier Journal.’ The court then dismissed the claim of the Shipper against the Motor Carrier, but allowed the third-party counter claim filed by the Motor Carrier against the Shipper for costs and attorneys’ fees to proceed.
A decision such as this one should put shippers and their counsel on notice that courts will not allow an inequitable shift of risk in the shipper/motor carrier relationship in motor carrier contracts.