Markvicka v. Brodhead-Garrett Co.
76 F.R.D. 205 (D. Neb. 1977)

  • Markvicka was injured using a machine in woodworking class. Markvicka sued Brodhead-Garrett, the manufacturer of the machine.
  • Brodhead-Garrett used a Rule 14 motion to implead the school where the accident occurred (Ralston).
    • Brodhead-Garrett argued that the accident was not fault of their machine but due to Ralston’s poor maintenance and inadequate supervision.
    • Brodhead-Garrett was looking to indemnify Ralston. Basically that means that, if the Court awards recovery to Markvicka, then Ralston has to pay, and Brodhead-Garrett doesn’t.
  • Ralston appealed the Rule 14 motion.
  • The Appellate Court affirmed the Rule 14 motion and added Ralston as a co-defendant.
    • The Appellate Court found that Rule 14(a) permits the joinder of a party who is or may be liable to the defending party for all or part of the plaintiff’s claim.
      • Brodhead-Garrett’s complaint shows that Ralston “may be liable,” therefore the Rule 14 motion is proper.
    • The Court noted that Brodhead-Garrett should make a claim for contribution, not indemnification.
      • Contribution means that there are two defendants, both of whom have some liability. Indemnification allows one defendant to shift the entire burden of liability onto another.
      • The Court found that indemnification is not available when both parties are negligent to a certain degree.
      • Brodhead-Garrett was permitted to amend its complaint to allege contribution as opposed to indemnification.