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Appeals court revives $1.5 million lawsuit against Randolph Eastern Schools  

Credit:  Douglas Walker | Muncie Star Press | Sept. 23, 2022 | www.thestarpress.com ~~

WINCHESTER, Ind. – The Indiana Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit that sought more than $1.5 million in damages from Randolph Eastern Schools.

The suit was filed in 2021 by Performance Services Inc., which in 2009 entered into a contract with Randolph Eastern stemming from the company’s construction and operation of a wind turbine in Union City.

The contract called for the school corporation to pay Performance Services $154,000 annually in exchange for giving Randolph Eastern “physical access to the wind turbine” and “certain data generated by the turbine… sought to use in the education” of students.

The contract also gave the corporation an option to buy the wind turbine.

Randolph Eastern never made payments to Performance Services, and in 2021, the school corporation sought a “declaratory judgment” making the 2009 contract null and void.

That was followed by Performance Services’ Randolph Circuit Court lawsuit, seeking more than $1.5 million in unpaid access fees.

The special judge assigned to the case, Marianne Vorhees of Delaware County, granted the school corporation’s motion for summary judgment, in part ruling the 2009 contract had “reflected an illegal ‘investment’ on the part of a political subdivision.”

In a 2-1 opinion this week, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned Vorhees’ decision, ruling that the contract did not reflect an illegal investment.

The special judge was instructed to instead grant Performance Services’ motion for summary judgment, and to schedule a hearing to determine the amount of damages the company should receive.

Judges Paul Mathias and Terry Crone voted in favor of overturning the original judgment.

A third member of the state appeals panel, Judge Elaine Brown, issued a dissenting opinion, saying she believed the 2009 contract did allow for an investment by the school corporation prohibited under state law.

Source:  Douglas Walker | Muncie Star Press | Sept. 23, 2022 | www.thestarpress.com

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