4/12/23: Edd Harney and Nick Naum win Appeal for Products Manufacturer in Wrongful Death matter on Incurred Risk and Misuse Defenses

After being denied summary judgment at the Vanderburgh County Superior Court, Edd Harney successfully obtained summary judgment in the Indiana Court of Appeals for a products manufacturer by proving the affirmative defenses of incurred risk and misuse.

In February 2018, Boonville resident John Fritchley II attempted to remove the top of a 55-gallon metal drum containing automotive brake cleaner which was sold and manufactured by Superior Oil Company.  Fritchley used a cutting torch and the drum exploded, blowing the top off and killing Fritchley instantly. While the incident was not work-related, Fritchley's employment file was obtained from his employer, Alcoa Warrick Operations, to examine his work training and education. A subsequent subpoena obtained Alcoa training documents showing Fritchley had been extensively trained by his employer.  The records showed Fritchley that over his 17-year Alcoa employment Fritchley attended presentations on critical risk management, fire prevention and workplace hazards. These training records were used to bolster the product manufacturer's argument the decedent knew the risk when he took a torch to the 55-gallon metal drum. The Court of Appeals also found Fritchley misused the product in contravention of the product's warning label.


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