ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE
Kevin P. Farrell Darla S. Brown
Angela Herod Bloomington, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR AMICUS CURIAE,
ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE, INDIANA TRIAL LAWYERS
DEFENSE TRIAL COUNSEL OF INDIANA ASSOCIATION
Ross E. Rudolph Thomas Doehrman
James D. Johnson Indianapolis, Indiana
SUPREME COURT OF INDIANA
DENNIS MENDENHALL and ) TINA MENDENHALL, ) ) Appellants (Plaintiffs Below ),) Cause No. 49S04-9811-CV-740 ) in the Supreme Court v. ) ) Cause No. 49A04-9709-CV-393 SKINNER AND BROADBENT CO., ) in the Court of Appeals INC. ) ) Appellee (Defendant Below ). )
SHEPARD, Chief Justice.
The defendant in this tort case suffered judgment and then sought credit for money paid by a settling co-defendant who had not been added back under the nonparty provisions of the Comparative Fault Act. Is credit available under these circumstances? We hold it is not.
Skinner moved to set off the final verdict by the amount of Stewarts
settlement. The trial court granted the motion and amended the judgment, crediting
it with $15,000 the Mendenhalls received in settlement, $5,000 in medical expenses Stewart
had paid the Mendenhalls before trial, and $5,000 in medical expenses Skinner had
paid the Mendenhalls before trial.
This reduced the judgment against Skinner from
$40,000 to $15,000.
The Mendenhalls argue that credits or set-offs, amounts received in settlement, did not
survive the Comparative Fault Act. They contend that the Act makes the nonparty
defense the defendants sole method for reducing liability where another party settles.
Conversely, Skinner and Broadbent maintains that credits did and should survive the Act.
In so asserting, Skinner relies on the Acts language, case law, and
public policy. We examine these arguments in turn.