Property damage and emotional distress fall outside economic loss doctrine

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Dennis Hoffman, Merle Hoffman, Eric Harvey, and Angela Harvey (collectively, “the Neighbors”) appeal the trial court’s entry of partial summary judgment in favor of WCC Equity Partners, L.P. (“WCC”). The Neighbors and WCC raise three issues, which we restate as follows:
I. Does the economic loss doctrine bar the Neighbors from recovering economic damages pursuant to their claim of negligence against WCC?
II. Does the law of the case doctrine require us to affirm the trial court’s decision
III. Does the doctrine of res judicata prevent this Court from reviewing the appealed order in this case?

(slip op. at 8):  We reverse the trial court’s partial summary judgment order and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Key Analysis
(slip op. at 5-6, 7, 8):  There is no evidence of a contractual relationship between the Neighbors and WCC, and the types of damages claimed by the Neighbors—including property damage and emotional distress—clearly fall outside the scope of the economic loss doctrine . . . There was no resolution of a “legal issue” that would trigger the law of the case doctrine in this appeal . . . Res judicata does not apply because the prior panel of this Court did not render a decision on the merits regarding the applicability of the economic loss doctrine.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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