Library’s negligence claims subject to economic loss doctrine

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We once again turn the page and delve into another chapter of the saga surrounding the renovation and expansion of the Central Library Project in Indianapolis.

Appellant-plaintiff Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (Library) appeals the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of appellees-defendants Charlier Clark & Linard, PC, (CCL), Thornton Tomasetti Engineers (TTE), and Joseph G. Burns (collectively, the appellees). Specifically, the Library argues that the judgment entered for the appellees on its negligence claims was erroneous because those claims were not barred under the economic loss doctrine as espoused by our Supreme Court in Gunkel v. Renovations, Inc.

Conclusion (slip op. at 28):  We conclude that the negligence claims that the Library brought against the appellees are subject to the economic loss doctrine and are best relegated to contract law in accordance with Gunkel v. Renovations, Inc., 822 N.E.2d 150 (Ind. 2005). Moreover, the purported exceptions to the economic loss doctrine do not apply. As a result, the trial court properly entered summary judgment for the appellees on the Library’s negligence claims.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 2):  Perhaps our discussion below may best be summarized as follows — When only economic harm is involved, the question becomes whether the consuming public as a whole should bear the cost of economic losses sustained by those who failed to bargain for adequate contract remedies. And, as New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo recognized: If liability for negligence exists, a thoughtless slip or blunder . . . may expose [one] to a liability in an indeterminate amount for an indeterminate time to an indeterminate class. . . . [I]f there has been neither reckless misstatement nor insincere profession of an opinion, but only honest blunder, the ensuing liability for negligence is one that is bounded by the contract, and is to be enforced between the parties by whom the contract has been made.

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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