United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
AFFINITY MUTUAL INSURANCE as Subrogee of HOLMES & COMPANY, INC., Plaintiff,
NIDEC AVTRON AUTOMATION CORPORATION, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Affinity Mutual Insurance a/s/o Holmes & Company, Inc.,
filed a four-count subrogation action against Defendant Nidec
Avtron Automation Corporation. The theories of recovery included
negligence, strict products liability, breach of contract,
and breach of implied warranties. The Defendant has moved for
summary judgment [ECF No. 42] on all four claims. In
response, the Plaintiff asserts that it has a viable cause of
action for breach of contract and breach of warranty based on
lost income and other damages associated with replacing the
Defendant's failed component parts. However, the
Plaintiff is no longer pursuing the negligence and product
Defendant has presented evidence that the parties'
contract contained language that would defeat the
Plaintiff's remaining claims, but the Plaintiff maintains
that a jury must determine whether this language was part of
the contract between Holmes and the Defendant. For the
reasons stated in this Opinion and Order, the Court finds
that this case cannot be resolved as a matter of law on the
record that has been presented.
& Company operates a lumber mill in Columbia City,
Indiana. In April 2012, Holmes purchased an Active Front End
motor drive system from the Defendant for use in conjunction
with Holmes's saw carriage. Such drive systems control
the speed and torque of a motor in an industrial setting.
Defendant provided Holmes with a thirteen-page quote dated
April 5, 2012, and designated as “Quotation
R12-00803.” It was signed by a regional sales manager
for the Defendant. Among the Terms and Conditions set forth
in Quotation R12-00803 was a term regarding warranties and
Company warrants that its products will be free from defects
in material or workmanship for a period of one (1) year
following installation, or fifteen (15) months after shipment
from Company, whichever is shorter. NO OTHER WARRANTY,
EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY
OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE IS MADE FOR THESE
PRODUCTS, AND ALL OTHER WARRANTIES ARE HEREBY EXPRESSLY
EXCLUDED. In the event of a defect, the Company's
obligation shall be limited to the supply of replacement
parts free of charge. . . . COMPANY SHALL HAVE NO OTHER
LIABILITY, DIRECT OR INDIRECT, OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING
LIABILITY FOR SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.
(Quotation, ECF No. 43-3 at 10.)
April 6, 2012, Holmes faxed a purchase order to the
Defendant's regional sales manager regarding “Quote
# R12-00803.” (Purchase Order, ECF No. 43-3 at 2.) The
description of the item ordered is a “200 HP Standard
Avtron Saw Carriage Electric Drive System per Quote.”
(Id.) On the line reserved for indicating who
approved the purchase order is the name Daniel Almendinger-
he is the owner of the saw mill. In his Affidavit,
Almendinger acknowledges that the parties agreed on price and
general terms, that his company sent the purchase order, that
the Defendant then installed the drive system, and that he
received the written quote designated as R12-00803
(hereinafter “Quote R12-00803” or “the
Quote”). However, he does not identify when he received
the Quote (Almendinger Aff. ¶ 6, ECF No. 47-1 (stating
that “[a]t some point, Holmes & Company, Inc.
received the written quote” that the Defendant attached
to its Summary Judgment Motion)), and maintains that there
was never “any discussion between Defendant and anyone
at Holmes about any of the terms contained in that
Quote” (id. ¶ 7).
2014, a filter within the Defendant's product failed to
perform correctly and was damaged. Holmes submitted a claim
to the Plaintiff insurance company for the profits it lost
from April 14-28, 2014, while the necessary component part of
the drive system was being commissioned. Holmes also incurred
costs for building supplies required to build an addition to
the electrical room so that it would house a larger filter.
These costs are the subject of the Plaintiff's claims in
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A court should only deny a motion for
summary judgment when the nonmoving party presents admissible
evidence that creates a genuine issue of material fact.
Luster v. Ill. Dep't of Corrs., 652 F.3d 726,
731 (7th Cir. 2011) (first citing United States v. 5443
Suffield Terrace, 607 F.3d 504, 510 (7th Cir. 2010);
then citing Swearnigen-El v. Cook Cnty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 602 F.3d 852, 859 (7th
Cir. 2010)). A court's role in deciding a motion for
summary judgment “is not to sift through the evidence,
pondering the nuances and inconsistencies, and decide whom to
believe. [A] court has one task and one task only: to decide,
based on the evidence of record, whether there is any
material dispute of fact that requires a trial.”
Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920
(7th Cir. 1994). Material facts are those that are outcome
determinative under the applicable law. Smith v.
Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 427 (7th Cir. 1997). Although a
bare contention that an issue of material fact exists is
insufficient to create a factual dispute, a court must
construe all facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, view all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor, see Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485,
491-92 (7th Cir. 2000), and avoid “the temptation to
decide which party's version of the facts is more likely
true, ” Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770
(7th Cir. 2003).
Negligence and Strict ...