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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

ADVERTISEMENT