United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
General Motors, LLC, moves for summary judgment as to the
claims brought by the Plaintiff, Steve Bagby, Jr. The court,
having read and reviewed the parties' submissions, the
designated evidence, and the applicable law, now
GRANTS Defendant's Motion.
August 26, 2016, Plaintiff was operating a 2003 Chevrolet
TrailBlazer manufactured and sold by Defendant.
Plaintiff's vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree.
The airbag did not deploy and the seatbelt failed to restrain
him. Consequently, he suffered serious and permanent
Plaintiff's Complaint, he brings strict liability claims,
design and manufacturing defect claims, negligence claims,
breach of express and implied warranty claims, and a failure
to warn claim. General Motors moves for summary judgment
under Indiana's Product Liability Act
(“IPLA”), which requires that a product liability
claim be commenced within ten years of the product at issue
having been delivered to its initial user or consumer. Ind.
Code § 34-20-3-1. Defendant argues his claim is
time-barred because the 2003 TrailBlazer was delivered to the
first user or consumer on June 26, 2003, but the accident at
issue did not happen until August 26, 2016, and Plaintiff did
not commence this action until August 11, 2017.
concedes his product liability claims are time-barred. He
argues, however, that his contract-based claim for breach of
the warranty of merchantability under the Uniform Commercial
Indiana Supreme Court has recognized that “several
federal district courts and other panels of the [Indiana]
Court of Appeals have held that tort-based breach of warranty
claims have been subsumed into the [IPLA].” Kovach
v. Midwest, 913 N.E.2d 193, 197 (Ind. 2009); see
also Cavender v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 3:16-cv-232, 2017
WL 1365354, at *6 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 14, 2017) (“[W]hen
the claim, as here, is for tortious personal injury, the
breach of warranty claim is subsumed by the IPLA”);
Lyons v. Leatt Corp., 4:15-cv-17-TLS, 2015 WL
7016469, at *3 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 10, 2015) (same). Conversely,
“breach of warranty claims alleged under Indiana's
Uniform Commercial Code are deemed independent from
IPLA.” Lyons, 2015 WL 7016469, at *3 (citing
Atkinson v. P&G-Clairol, Inc., 813 F.Supp.2d
1021, 1027 (N.D. Ind. 2011)).
contract-based breach of warranty theory, a plaintiff may
only recover the cost of the product and any economic loss
from the failure of the product. Atkinson, 813
F.Supp.2d at 1026 (citing Hyundai Motor Am., Inc. v.
Goodin, 822 N.E.2d 947, 952 n. 4 (Ind. 2005). Economic
damages are defined as “the diminution in the value of
a product and consequent loss of profits because the product
is inferior in quality and does not work for the general
purposes for which it was manufactured and sold.”
Id. (quoting Reed v. Central Soya Co.,
Inc., 621 N.E.2d 1069, 1074 (Ind. 1993)). Here,
Plaintiff does not seek economic damages. Instead, he seeks
recovery for damages in tort related to physical harm,
including “permanent injuries, ” “pain of
body and anguish of mind, ” “medical and
rehabilitation expenses, ” “loss of past
earnings, ” and “loss of ability to earn
money” due to alleged defects in the 2003 TrailBlazer.
(Id. ¶¶ 25-28). Accordingly, his breach of
warranty claim is subsumed by the IPLA and is time-barred.
a claim for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability
under the UCC operates between a buyer and a seller.
See Ind. Code § 26-1-2-314; § 26-1-2-714;
§ 26-1-2-715; Reed, 621 N.E.2d at 1075
(“The law of sales set out in Article 2 of the Uniform
Commerical Code governs the economic relations between buyer
and seller; the dissatisfied buyer may avail himself of those
statutory remedies fashioned by the legislature.”).
Plaintiff testified that Mary Joe and Butch Wheatley owned
the 2003 TrailBlazer at the time of the accident; he never
owned it. (Filing No. 35-1, Deposition of Steve Bagby at
61-62, 134). Thus, he was not a buyer for purposes of the
UCC. See Ind. Code § 26-1-2-103(1)(a)
(“‘Buyer' means a person who buys or
contracts to buy goods.”). He was not a third party
beneficiary entitled to the protections of an implied
warranty either. Ind. Code § 26-1-2-318 (“A
seller's warranty whether express or implied extends to
any natural person who is in the family or household of his
buyer or who is a guest in his home if it is reasonable to
expect that such person may use, consume or be affected by
the goods and who is injured in person by breach of the
even if his implied of merchantability warranty claim were
not time-barred, it would be subject to dismissal.
reasons set forth above, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Filing No. 27) is GRANTED.