Indiana Supreme Court Publishes Opinion Important to Construction Industry

On June 25, 2012, the Indiana Supreme Court published Gill v Evansville Sheet Metal Works, Inc., an opinion important to the construction industry.  In the 10 page opinion, the Court applied and discussed Indiana’s ten year construction statute of repose.  The court ultimately found that the defendant failed to designate evidence that it had made an “improvement to real estate” as required by the statute.  The Court further defined an improvement as “a permanent addition to or a betterment of real property that enhances its capital value and that involves the expenditure of labor or money and is designed to make the property more useful or valuable as distinguished from ordinary repairs”.

 The Court also discussed the use of local rules (specifically mass tort rules) and found that the trial court’s use of an early stage summary judgment was proper.  The use of early summary judgment motions in asbestos cases has become common place in Indiana, and it appears that the practice will continue.

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