IN CoA reverses trial court’s judgment to pierce corporate veil

“Country Contractors, Inc. (“Country”) entered into a contract to provide excavation services for A Westside Storage of Indianapolis, Inc. (“Westside”). Country subcontracted out a substantial portion of the work and eventually left the worksite without completing the job.” Westside filed for breach of contract and slander of title against Country and its two shareholders, the Songers.

On March 11, 2013, the trial court issued its findings, conclusions, and judgment in favor of Westside against Country and against the Songers personally. The $117,542.20 damage award consisted of $51,162.86 in additional costs to complete the Westside project; $14,959.34 in prejudgment interest; $17,500.00 in attorney’s fees; and $33,920.00 in damages for delay of the project caused by Country’s breach.

On the issue of piercing the corporate veil, the CoA did not upset the finding that the corporation was substantially under-capitalized or that the shareholders did not observe corporate formalities. Rather, the focus was on the nexus between any of the elements of piercing the veil and the alleged resulting injustice. Here, the CoA could find no such nexus and so the judgment of the trial court was reversed.

With respect to the slander of title claim, Country and its subcontractor filed liens against Westside for teh same invoiced work. The sub then resolved its lien with Westside and recorded its release. Country filed its lien after the release was filed and had no independent work of its own to claim the lien. Thus there was sufficient evidence to support a slander of title claim and the award of attorneys fees was appropriate enough not upset the trial court’s discretion.

Finally, the award for delay damages was reversed as speculative.

www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/02121401tac.pdf.

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About Matt Anderson

I am civil trial attorney in South Bend, Indiana and have practiced on both sides of insurance and personal injury law in Illinois and Indiana for the better part of ten years. I created this blog as a way for other Indiana civil litigation and trial attorneys to get meaningful updates on cases ad issues that affect their practice. (I'll admit that there is some self-interest involved since it's also a handy way to summarize and file my own research.)

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