Krien v. Harsco Corp., No. 13-2272 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The general contractor of a Wisconsin construction project, hired Harsco to supply scaffolding. Krien, injured in a fall when a plank on a scaffold on which he was standing, broke, sued Harsco. The parties settled his claim for $900,000. Harsco filed a third‐party complaint against the contractor, seeking indemnification plus interest and attorneys’ fees. The district judge granted the contractor summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded after examining the complex provisions of the contract between the two. The plank may or may have been supplied by Harsco and may or may not have been defective, as claimed by Krien, who could not sue Riley in tort, because against his employer his only remedy for a work‐related accident was a claim for workers’ compensation, but there has never been judicial resolution of these questions, because Krien’s suit was settled before there was any judgment. Indemnification, however, is a form of insurance, and could apply even if the party seeking indemnification was negligent. Riley’s duty to indemnify Harsco extends to legal expenses incurred by Harsco in defending against Krien’s suit and in litigating this suit.