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G. M. v. Petsmart, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division

August 28, 2015

G. M. a Minor, TRISTA MCCOY individually, and in her capacity as Next Friend to G.M., a Minor, RICKEY MCCOY individually, and in his capacity as Next Friend to G.M., a Minor, Plaintiffs,
v.
PETSMART, INC., RAINBOW EXOTICS, INC., SLAM VENTURES, LTD. d/b/a the Mouse Farm, Defendants

          For G. M., a Minor, TRISTA MCCOY, individually, and in her capacity as Next Friend to G.M., a Minor, RICKEY MCCOY, individually, and in his capacity as Next Friend to G.M., a Minor, Plaintiffs: Mark Kelly Phillips, MARK K. PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY AT LAW, P.C., Boonville, IN.

         For PETSMART, INC., Defendant: Brent R. Weil, KIGHTLINGER & GRAY - Evansville, Evansville, IN; Christina Kelly, POLSINELLI, P.C., Phoenix, AZ; Crystal Gates Rowe, KIGHTLINGER & GRAY, LLP-New Albany, New Albany, IN.

         For RAINBOW EXOTICS, INC., Defendant: James D. Johnson, Stacy K. Newton, RUDOLPH FINE PORTER & JOHNSON, Evansville, IN.

         For SLAM VENTURES, LTD., d/b/a The Mouse Farm, Defendant: Aaron Courey Trump, KAHN DEES DONOVAN & KAHN, Evansville, IN; Brian P. Williams, KAHN DEES DONOVAN & KAHN, LLP, Evansville, IN.

Page 961

         ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         RICHARD L. YOUNG, Chief United States District Judge.

         Plaintiffs, Trista McCoy, Rickey McCoy (" Plaintiffs" or " the McCoys" ), as parents of G.M., brought the present lawsuit against Defendants, PetSmart, Inc., Rainbow Exotics, Inc. (" Rainbow" ), and Slam Ventures, Ltd. d/b/a The Mouse Farm (" The Mouse Farm" ) after G.M. suffered from rat bite fever allegedly contracted from the pet rats his mother bought at PetSmart. The Defendants each moved for summary judgment. The Plaintiffs have opposed each motion, and the court heard oral argument on the motions on August 17, 2015. After considering the motions, supporting briefs and arguments of the parties, the court now GRANTS the Defendants' motions.

         I. Background

         On September 9, 2011, Trista McCoy purchased two pet rats from a PetSmart store located in Evansville, Indiana, to give to their children. PetSmart purchased the rats from Rainbow World, who purchased the rats from their breeder, The Mouse Farm. At the time of the purchase from PetSmart, Trista signed a Pet Sales Record & Customer Contract. Trista did not read the Customer Contract, which contained warnings in regards to several types of animals that may be purchased at PetSmart.

         In March 2012, G.M. began complaining of fever, rashes, and joint pain. His pediatrician, Dr. Pamela Rogers saw him at that time. Dr. Rogers consulted the Red Book Atlas of Pediatric Infectious Diseases to investigate G.M.'s symptoms. She did not

Page 962

feel qualified to diagnose rat bite fever; as such, she referred G.M. to Riley Children's Hospital (" Riley" ) in Indianapolis, Indiana. On April 6, 2012, G.M. was admitted to Riley based upon his complaints of fever, rash, and joint pain. Dr. Kathleen Boyd diagnosed G.M. with rat bite fever[1] and discharged him on April 7, 2012.

         Plaintiffs filed the present lawsuit against PetSmart, Rainbow World, and The Mouse Farm as a result of G.M.'s diagnosis of rat bite fever. Specifically, Plaintiffs seek damages under the following theories: (1) products liability, (2) common law negligence, (3) emotional distress, and (4) future damages. Defendants, moving separately, each filed for summary judgment.

         II. ...


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