In the case of Brandon v. Buddy & Pal’s III, Inc., and Walker, Brandon was injured in a bar fight located in Schererville, Indiana. He would later file a lawsuit against Thomas Walker, the alleged person who had struck him. Brandon would also sue the bar where the fight had occurred as well. The case would drag on for several years as Walker had failed to file a timely answer and the trial court would eventually find Walker to be in default.
Three years later, Walker appeared for trial and while he was representing himself, he disputed his liability in the fight. During the closing arguments of the trial, Brandon’s attorney urged the jury to find that the bar was 85% at fault for the bar fight and that Walker was only 15% at fault for the fight. In a stunning turn of events for Brandon, the jury found that Brandon himself was 100% at fault for the bar fight. Brandon would then file a motion to correct error arguing that the default had established Walker’s liability in the case and that the only thing left to be determined was damages. The trial court found that Brandon had waived this issue.
The Indiana Court of Appeals had agreed with the decision of the trial court. They determined that since Brandon did not object with Walker participating in the trial, did not argue the effect of Walker’s default at trial, and only asked the jury to find Walker 15% at fault, he could not now fall back on the argument that Walker was 100% at fault based on the default. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.
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