Indiana Court of Appeals Sides with Chemical Manufacturer in Drum Explosion Case
By Paul V. Esposito
A product liability action failed because decedent failed to follow warnings against using flame near a drum that had stored flammable chemicals. Superior Oil Co. v. Labno-Fritchley, 2023 Ind. App. LEXIS 109 (4/12/23). Decedent was killed when the empty drum exploded while he was cutting off its lid. Indiana’s Product Liability Act provides complete defenses to liability based on product misuse and incurred risk. The seller placed a readily visible label on the lid warning not to use flame in cutting an empty drum. Decedent would have seen it while cutting the lid. As a matter of law, the seller could not have reasonably expected decedent’s misuse. And because the label was adequate to warn of the danger and decedent had been trained to recognize it, decedent incurred the risk as a matter of law.