ILNews

Justices rule in favor of cup manufacturers

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The manufacturer defendants in a suit claiming defects in their measuring cup caused the death of a 9-year-old boy are entitled to summary judgment, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed today. The undisputed evidence in the case showed if there was an overdose of codeine in the boy's bloodstream, it wasn't caused by any alleged defects in the cup itself.

In Jim and Jill Kovach, individually and on behalf of deceased minor child Matthew Kovach v. Caligor Midwest, et al., No. 49S04-0902-CV-88, the high court found the causation issue in the case dispositive as to all causes of action. The Kovaches asserted four claims against Caligor Midwest and other manufactures of the medicine cup under the Indiana Product Liability Act and the Uniform Commercial Code. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of the defendants, holding genuine issues of fact precluded summary judgment on the claims. Justice Theodore Boehm noted that the Supreme Court has yet to address whether the PLA preempts warranty-based theories of recovery for physical harm, but decided not to resolve that issue because it was only raised by amici. The high court also declined to address several collateral issues the parties raised on appeal.

The parents claimed if the medicine cup had been better suited as a precision measuring device or had contained a warning that it wasn't suitable for precision measurement, their son wouldn't have received an overdose. The nurse that gave him the codeine testified she gave him the 15mL prescribed by filling the cup up halfway; Jim Kovach argued he saw the cup filled all the way up to the 30 mL level.

An autopsy showed Matthew had more than twice the recommended therapeutic level of the drug in his system, and the undisputed evidence in the case shows if there was an overdose, it wasn't caused by an imprecise measurement of the drug attributable to less than readily discernable marks, wrote the justice.

"Rather, if the codeine was the cause of Matthew's death, it was due to an erroneous double dosage of 30 mL of codeine when Matthew was supposed to receive 15 mL. The accident therefore cannot be attributed to any alleged defects in the cup itself," he wrote.

The justices also declined to address whether a failure to warn against the cup's use for precision measurement was required because even if it had been given, it wouldn't have prevented the overdose, Justice Boehm wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

ADVERTISEMENT