Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Last month, the Supreme Court of Indiana held that Indiana's statutory defense of misuse is an absolute bar to recovery and not a mere factor in a comparative fault analysis. In dicta, earlier cases had leaned in the other direction. The court issued a caveat:
This is not to say that any allegation on the part of a seller that a plaintiff misused the product will suffice. The misuse defense is qualified by the plain language in the statute. That is, in order to successfully employ misuse as a defense, the seller must show both that the misuse of the product is: 1) the cause of the harm; and 2) not reasonably expected by the seller. If a plaintiff misuses a product but it is not the cause of the harm and/or the misuse can reasonably be expected by the seller, then the misuse would not serve as a complete defense and comparative fault principles would apply.
The case is Campbell Hausfeld/Scott Fetzer Co. v. Johnson, , 109 N.E.3d 953 (Ind. 2018).