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Indianapolis Airport Authority v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 16, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS AIRPORT AUTHORITY, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          ORDER ON PARTIES' RULE 72 OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER TO ESTABLISH PROCEEDINGS ON REMAND

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA

         Following remand from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, consistent with the Local Rules, the Court instructed the parties to submit position statements regarding the next steps in this litigation. The parties submitted position statements which disputed how the Court should proceed. Upon the Court's invitation, the parties filed motions regarding the position statements, which prompted extensive briefing. The Court referred the position statement motions to the Magistrate Judge, who issued an Order granting in part and denying in part each party's motion (Filing No. 409). The Magistrate Judge concluded, “This matter is ready to be set for deadlines with regards to pretrial motions, a final pre-trial, and jury trial in accordance with the Opinion of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and this Entry.” Id. at 12. Each party filed juxtaposed objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order, reiterating their previous positions and arguing error in the unfavorable portion of the ruling while offering support to the favorable portion of the ruling (Filing No. 410; Filing No. 411).

         The parties agree on one thing: “The district judge in the case must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). “The clear error standard means the district court can overturn the magistrate judge's ruling only if the district court is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.” Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., Ltd., 126 F.3d 926, 943 (7th Cir. 1997). “An order is contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.” Coley v. Landrum, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13377, at *3 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 4, 2016) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiff Indianapolis Airport Authority (“IAA”) argues the Magistrate Judge's Order is contrary to law regarding the Seventh Circuit's interpretation of the insurance policy at issue. Defendant Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (“Travelers”) argues the Magistrate Judge's Order is clearly erroneous regarding its refusal to compel IAA to create and provide new or revised damages documentation. After review of the Seventh Circuit's Opinion and Mandate, the parties' briefs (including the briefing on the motions prior to the appeal), and the Magistrate Judge's Order, the Court “is left with the definite and firm conviction” that the Magistrate Judge's Order is not clearly erroneous on the facts or the law nor is it contrary to law. The parties' objections are simply disagreements based on their respective interpretations of the facts, the insurance policy, and the Seventh Circuit's Opinion. Thus, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's Order in its entirety and overrules the parties' Objections.

         For a more robust discussion of the background and legal analysis of the issues raised by the parties, the Court refers the parties back to the thorough and well-reasoned Order of the Magistrate Judge (Filing No. 409). The Court notes that this case is very old. The events giving rise to this litigation are very old. The parties have briefed and re-briefed the same arguments and issues many times. Regarding its request to compel IAA to provide new damages documentation, Travelers fixates on one of the two suggestions found in the opinion of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals while ignoring the other viable suggestion to simply proceed to trial to resolve this old case. Travelers has stated ad nauseam that IAA's documents were created and produced prior to the Seventh Circuit's ruling on the insurance policy's interpretation and the new “landscape” for damages. If this new landscape required new, revised damages documentation before proceeding to trial, the Seventh Circuit would have stated so, rather than suggesting the second option of resolving the issues at trial.

         Requiring a revised damages document is not a prerequisite to proceed to trial. The parties are encouraged to pursue settlement negotiations in an effort to resolve the lingering dispute, and as part of that process, the parties may want to exchange additional documents with revised or updated damages calculations in an effort to facilitate negotiations. However, a revised calculation is not necessary for trial. In addition, the Court declines IAA's two-sentence invitation to certify this Order for interlocutory appeal.

         CONCLUSION

         The parties' Objections (Filing No. 410; Filing No. 411) are OVERRULED. The Court ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Order (Filing No. 409). The parties are ORDERED to confer and file a joint proposed case management plan and schedule a status conference with the Magistrate Judge for approval of the deadlines within ten (10) days of this Entry.

         This matter will be set for final pre-trial conference and jury trial by separate order.

         SO ...


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