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Jan 23

Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal for Waste Management and Environmental Services Company

Baker Sterchi recently obtained dismissal of all claims against its client, a publicly traded waste management and environmental services company, in a negligence and contractual indemnification action. The action arose out of a city street cave-in incident that plaintiff-employee alleged caused him permanent injuries for which he sought damages from the city. The city filed a third-party complaint asserting a contractual indemnification claim against Baker Sterchi’s client.  The client filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and the city filed a motion for summary judgment regarding the city’s third-party claim.  The District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, held oral arguments on the parties’ respective dispositive motions, and ruled on the motions following oral arguments.  The court agreed that the city’s third-party complaint failed to present sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for contractual indemnification and the only questions of law presented were answered firmly in the client’s favor.  Specifically, the court held the subject indemnity provision was unambiguous and only contemplated indemnification for the negligence of the company.  As a result, the court found that the contract must be enforced according to its terms and the company owed no duty to indemnify the city.  The court rejected the city’s argument that by agreeing to hold the city harmless for “all claims … of every kind … brought against [the city],” the company unequivocally agreed to indemnify the city.