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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ind. Decisions - One Indiana opinion today from the 7th Circuit

In Thomas M. Klein and Annie J. Rice v. DePuy Orthppaedics, et.al. (ND Ind., Judge Springmann)., a 12-page opinion, Judge Evans writes:

In this products liability/personal injury suit, the defendants, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., DePuy, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson, contend that North Carolina law applies and that the case must be dismissed under its six-year statute of repose. The plaintiffs, Mitch Klein and Annie Rice, * * * maintain that Indiana law applies and that the suit is timely under its more generous ten-year statute of repose. Alternatively, Klein contends that, if he is stuck with North Carolina law, an exception should be applied to permit his suit to be viewed as timely. According to DePuy, no such “exception” exists.

District Judge Theresa Springmann thought that DePuy had the better of the argument, so she granted its motion for summary judgment. Klein v. DePuy, Inc., 476 F. Supp. 2d 1007, 1023 (N.D. Ind. 2007). The case is now before us on Klein’s appeal. As only questions of law are presented, our review is de novo. * * *

In sum, we agree with Judge Springmann that North Carolina law, rather than Indiana law, applies to Klein’s claims. We also agree that, had the North Carolina Supreme Court received this case, it would not have applied a “disease exception” to the six-year statute of repose at issue. The plain language of the statute, its history, and North Carolina case law all support our belief that no exception was intended. We leave it up to the North Carolina legislature to amend the statute if we are mistaken.

For the foregoing reasons, summary judgment in favor of the defendants is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 25, 2007 02:16 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions