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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, re question of federal preemption of state's statute of limitations

In Kennedy Tank & MFG. Co., Inc., and Hemlock Semiconductor Operations LLC and Hemlock Semiconductor, LLC v. Emmert Industrial Corporation d/b/a Emmert International, an 11-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Rush writes:

After Emmert Industrial Corporation (“Emmert”) successfully transported an enormous process tower vessel from Indiana to Tennessee, the vessel’s manufacturer—Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Company (“Kennedy”)—refused to pay nearly $700,000 in unforeseen transportation expenses. Emmert attempted to collect, but Kennedy still had not paid by the time a federal statute of limitations expired. Emmert eventually sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, and Kennedy raised the federal statute of limitations as an affirmative defense, arguing it preempts Indiana’s longer limitations period. On this issue of first impression, we disagree with Kennedy and hold that Indiana’s ten-year statute of limitations is not preempted. Emmert’s collection claim may therefore proceed. * * *

The ICCTA’s eighteen-month statute of limitations does not preempt Indiana’s ten-year statute of limitations governing breach of contract claims. Congress’s purpose was not to preempt state statutes of limitations, and Indiana’s statute of limitations does not do major damage to the ICCTA’s deregulatory purpose. Kennedy and Hemlock, therefore, have not carried their burden to establish preemption. We affirm the trial court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 3, 2017 12:50 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions