In the case of BC Osaka, Inc. and City Inn, Inc., v. Kainan Investment Groups, Inc., Magallanes sustained personal injuries when she tripped and fell on a rod that was sticking out of a cement bumper in the BC Osaka restaurant parking lot. She filed a complaint against BC Osaka, Inc. and City Inn, Inc., who was the tenant, and Kainan Investment Groups, Inc., who was the landlord. The landlord filed a cross-claim against the tenant and a motion for summary judgment as they argued that they were not liable for the personal injury based on the indemnity clause of the commercial lease agreement. Indemnity clauses are simply clauses in contracts that protect one party from liability in the event of third-party harm. The trail court granted the landlord’s motion and the tenant appealed.
A party may contract to indemnify another for the other’s own negligence but only if the party knowingly and willingly agrees to such provision. These clauses are usually strictly construed. The Indiana Court of Appeals notes that the indemnification clause must expressly state clearly that negligence is the area of application for indemnification. The Court also notes that it must be clear who it would apply to. In this case, the indemnification clause included “Tenant agrees to indemnify and save Landlord harmless against and from… any act or negligence of Tenant.” It is stated clearly that the clause was meant for the event of negligence. The Court says that the indemnification clause does not make any statement related to negligence on the part of the Landlord. Because of this, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that the tenant did not agree to indemnify the landlord for their own negligence.
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