Shook Ends Class Action in Computer Duster Case

Shook secured a dismissal with prejudice for client Falcon Safety Products, Inc. in a putative product liability class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. The plaintiff, proceeding individually and on behalf of a putative class of all others similarly situated, filed a wrongful death and putative class action lawsuit after the decedent passed away from intentionally inhaling (or “huffing”) computer duster products manufactured by Falcon and three other companies. The plaintiff asserted various product liability claims under Kansas law. 

Falcon filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to strike class allegations. In its motion to dismiss, Falcon asserted that the decedent’s illegal conduct barred all of the plaintiffs’ claims. The Court agreed, predicting that the Kansas Supreme Court would apply the illegality defense to product liability actions under Kansas law. Because the decedent’s huffing of Falcon’s products was criminal under Kansas law, the illegality defense barred the plaintiff from recovering civil damages. As a result, the Court granted Falcon’s motion to dismiss with prejudice and found Falcon’s motion to strike class allegations moot. Falcon is thrilled with the “outstanding and highly effective defense” provided by Shook.

Shook attorneys Scott Kaiser, Holly Pauling Smith, Stephen Nichols and Anna Gadberry worked on this case and prepared the motion to dismiss and motion to strike class allegations. 

The case is Messerli v. AW Distributing, Inc., No. 22-2305-DDC-TJJ (D. Kan., June 30, 2023).