Justin Schaefer & Chapin Scheumann Successfully Defend Utility Co.
In September 2019, Justin Schaefer and Chapin Elizabeth Scheumann successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a Plaintiff’s appeal of an award of summary judgment, which Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Scheumann had obtained on behalf of a private utility company sued in Clark County (IN) Circuit Court for negligence arising out a trip and fall due to an alleged unsecured water meter lid.
Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Scheumann first moved for summary judgment in May 2018, arguing that since the plaintiff failed to timely answer discovery, including requests for admissions, those admissions were deemed admitted by rule and were sufficient to warrant summary judgment. The Court, however, ruled that while the admissions were deemed admitted, more evidence was needed to award summary judgment. Thereafter, Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Scheumann obtained additional evidence in the form of an affidavit from an authorized representative of the company that specifically addressed the Court’s findings. Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Scheumann then renewed the motion, designating the affidavit in support. The Plaintiff designated no evidence in response.
After oral arguments in February 2019, the Court ruled in March that the affidavit and previously admitted requests for admission together were sufficient to warrant summary judgment in favor of the utility company. The Court denied the Plaintiff’s subsequent Motion to Reconsider, and the Plaintiff appealed. When Plaintiff did not timely file her brief on appeal, Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Scheumann moved the Court of Appeals to dismiss the case. When Plaintiff also missed the deadline to file a response to that motion, the Court dismissed the appeal with prejudice.