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A Defendant Is Not Entitled to Indemnification When Its Own Negligence Is the Primary Cause of an Injury, and Can Be Required to Indemnify Another Party Where It Expressly Agrees to Do So

In Hemond v. Frontier Communications, Inc., Citizens Communications Co., Citizens Energy Services, 2015 VT 66 (April 17, 2015) (“Hemond II”), the Vermont Supreme Court again affirmed that Defendant Frontier was not entitled to implied indemnification for the individual’s injuries from a contractor, because its own negligence was the primary cause of the injury, and further found that the contractor was entitled to express indemnification from Frontier.

Issue: Defendant Frontier appealed the grant of summary judgment to the contractor on both its own claim of implied indemnity, as well as the contractor’s claim of express indemnity.

Holding: The Court upheld both grants of summary judgment, finding that: 1) Defendant Frontier was not entitled to implied indemnification where it could not demonstrate that its liability was simply vicarious, or that the contractor was primarily responsible for creating the dangerous condition leading to the injury; and 2) the contractor provided sufficient evidence to show that the parties had a valid and enforceable agreement for express indemnification by Defendant Frontier.

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