Davidson v. Arch Chemicals Specialty Products, 347 F.Supp.2d 938 (D. Or., 2004)

Plaintiffs brought a wrongful death and personal injury action related to a fire in the plaintiffs’ vehicle. They plaintiffs had purchased a swimming pool chlorination product called “Sock-It” from a Costco store. The Sock-It was placed in the rear cargo section of their vehicle, and as they were driving, the product spontaneously ignited. The fire resulted in the the deaths of two children and serious burn injuries to the parents and another child.

The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Arch Chemicals, Costco, and Costco managers at the store they purchased the Sock-It, with claims of negligence, and products liability. The plaintiffs’ legal theories included a claim that Sock-It is so dangerous that it never should have been sold or marketed to consumers; the defendants failed to give an adequate warning of the unreasonably dangerous nature of Sock-It; and the defendants failed to properly package Sock-It to prevent rupture of the package and create a risk of fire.

The court concluded that Plaintiffs’ state law claims against Arch were to be converted into federal claims arising under FIFRA which is a Federal statute that regulates labeling and sales and grants enforcement of authority to the EPA. The appellant court held that defendant, Arch, was then permitted to remove the matter to Federal Court. Ultimately the case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

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