When stating a claim against an insurance company, one of the most significant steps in securing a judgment is surviving a motion to dismiss. Often, to stop you from building a solid case against them, insurance companies will try to get a case thrown out on dismissal. This normally happens before you can get a complete picture of what happened through discovery. Recently the Indiana Supreme Court looked at how strong a claim needs to be to survive a Motion for Dismissal in Indiana.
In The Residences at Ivy Quad Unit Owners Association v. Ivy Quad Development, Supreme Court Case No. 21S-PL-294, residents of Ivy Quad noticed issues with the structure of the building and ordered an inspection of the property. After five reports identifying many construction and design defects, the Ivy Quad Unit Owners Association sued several parties who helped construct the building. The defendants then asked the trial court to dismiss the case. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion.
After, the Supreme Court of Indiana agreed to hear the case to determine whether the residents’ case should be dismissed. Their case revolves around two theories. First, the defendants owed the residents a duty to provide homes free from defects that substantially impair their use and enjoyment. Second, the defendants were negligent in constructing the homes.
To win under the first theory, the residents must prove that the defendants were developing and selling the homes. The trial court believed that the defendants were not the proper parties to hold to the duty of providing a habitable dwelling and that the defendants were, in fact, not significantly involved in building the homes. However, the Indiana Supreme Court looked at the question differently. Since this was a motion to dismiss, the residents did not have to prove that the defendants were, in fact, responsible for providing them with habitable homes. All the residents needed to do was show any set of circumstances where the defendants could be found to have owed them a duty to provide a habitable home. Under the Supreme Court’s lesser standard, there was sufficient evidence to show that some defendants could have been responsible for delivering a livable home for the residents.
To win on the second theory, the residents must show that they suffered damages beyond purely economic damages. The Supreme Court of Indiana held that the damage to personal items in residents’ homes went beyond purely monetary damages and would survive the motion to dismiss.
Under the Indiana Supreme Court’s holding, surviving a motion to dismiss will be much more favorable to plaintiffs in the future.
If you or a loved one have been injured by inadequate housing conditions, contact an experienced Indiana attorney at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.