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Hagerman Construction, Inc. v. Copeland

Court of Appeals of Indiana
697 N.E.2d 948 (1998)


Facts

In 1990, Hagerman Construction, Inc. (Hagerman) (defendant), was contracted by Ball State University to serve as the prime contractor for the general construction of a new basketball arena. During the construction, Anthony Copeland (plaintiff) fell 45 feet to his death through an unprotected opening in precast concrete. Copeland was an employee of a subcontractor that Hagerman had hired to assist with the general construction. An action for damages based on negligence was brought against Hagerman on Copeland’s behalf. At trial, Copeland introduced the testimony of two expert witnesses who spoke on the customs of the construction industry regarding the covering of openings. Additionally, three construction workers spoke on the conditions at other projects, reporting that general contractors generally covered openings. Hagerman appealed the trial court’s admission of the testimony regarding the other projects, claiming that the testimony was prejudicial and irrelevant.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ratliff, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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