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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 2 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In Jeremy K. Warriner v. DC Marshall Jeep a/k/a DC Marshall, Inc. , a 21-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Baker writes:

In May 2009, Chrysler LLC, an American automobile icon with a worldwide annual production of approximately 2 million vehicles, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chrysler then emerged from bankruptcy as a new corporation. As a result, Jeremy Warriner acknowledges that his product liability claim filed in 2005 against Chrysler was discharged. Warriner had both his legs amputated following an accident that caused his Jeep Wrangler made by Chrysler to roll and catch fire. Unable to continue his suit against the manufacturer, Warriner sued the dealership that leased him the car in strict liability as a statutory manufacturer under Indiana Code section 34-24-2-4 that allows a plaintiff to sue the principal distributor or seller of a product if the trial court “is unable to hold jurisdiction” over a particular manufacturer of a product alleged to be defective. Today, we are asked to decide whether a manufacturer's discharge in bankruptcy prevents a trial court from holding jurisdiction over that manufacturer. We conclude it does not.

Appellant-plaintiff Jeremy K. Warriner appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of appellee-defendant DC Marshall, Inc. (the Dealership) on Warriner's complaint alleging that the Dealership is strictly liable for injuries that he sustained in an automobile accident under the Indiana Products Liability Act (IPLA) and liable for negligent marketing of an unsafe product. Warriner raises several issues on appeal, two of which we find dispositive. Regarding Warriner's first claim, he argues that because Chrysler LLC's bankruptcy prevented the trial court from holding jurisdiction over the manufacturer, he may, in accordance with the IPLA, hold the Dealership strictly liable. Warriner also argues that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the Dealership was negligent in its marketing practices. Concluding that summary judgment was properly entered for the Dealership, we affirm. * * *

DARDEN, J., concurs.
BAILEY, J., concurs in part and concurs in result in part. [that begins, at p. 13] The majority affirms the trial court's grant of D C Marshall Jeep's (“Marshall”) motion for summary judgment. I concur as to the negligent marketing claim. But I concur in result on Warriner's strict products liability claim and write separately because I would affirm the trial court on different grounds. I would affirm the trial court because Warriner voluntarily dismissed Old Chrysler from the case before the effective date of the liquidation of Old Chrysler by the bankruptcy court. Thus, he cannot seek recovery from Marshall on his products liability claim. Further, while I disagree with the majority's interpretation of the Indiana Products Liability Act (“IPLA”), I also do not think we need to reach that issue to decide this case, and would not do so.

NFP civil opinions today (1):

Gersh Zavodnik v. Katrin Gehrt and Imperator Bulldogs Kennel, et al. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (1):

State of Indiana v. Mershaun Scott (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 1, 2012 12:23 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions