United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
STEPHEN AND ALEXANDRIA SCANLAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF SAWYER SCANLAN PLAINTIFFS
SUNBEAM PRODUCTS, INC. D/B/A JARDEN CONSUMER SOLUTIONS DEFENDANT
CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE
case is before the court on Defendant Sunbeam Products, Inc.
d/b/a Jarden Consumer Solutions' (hereinafter
“Sunbeam”) motion for summary judgment on
Plaintiffs Stephen and Alexandria Scanlan's (collectively
“the Scanlans”) claims for survival and punitive
damages. ECF Nos. 83 and 84. The Scanlans responded. ECF Nos.
93 and 95. Sunbeam subsequently replied. ECF Nos. 104 and
105. Based on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals'
decision in this case, Sunbeam also moves for leave to
supplement its motion for summary judgment on the
Scanlans' claim for punitive damages. ECF No. 126. The
Scanlans responded. ECF No. 131. These matters are now ripe
for review. For the reasons set forth below, Sunbeam's
motion for summary judgment on the Scanlans' claim for
survival damages will be denied. Sunbeam's motion for
leave to supplement, as well as its motion for summary
judgment on the Scanlans' claim for punitive damages,
will be granted.
facts of this case have previously been detailed by this
This case arises from the tragic death of two-year-old Sawyer
Scanlan from heatstroke. On December 15, 2010, Stephen
Scanlan put his son, Sawyer, to bed in his crib at
approximately 9:00 p.m. ECF No. 88-3, p. 7. Stephen turned on
the Sunbeam Fan-Forced Heater, Model No. SFH111 (“space
heater” or “SFH111”) and turned the
thermostat dial to mid-range. Id. at 23. He then
left the room and shut the door behind him. Id. at
36. Although Sawyer's mother, Alexandria Scanlan, woke up
several times during the night to feed Sawyer's infant
sister, she did not check on Sawyer because she did not hear
any noise coming from his room and assumed he was sleeping.
ECF No. 85-4, p. 58.
At approximately 10:00 a.m. the following morning, Alexandria
went to Sawyer's room to wake him. Id. at 66-67.
When she opened the bedroom door, she felt a burst of hot air
and found Sawyer lying in his crib, unresponsive.
Id. at 70-71. An EMS official pronounced Sawyer dead
at the scene. The medical examiner concluded that “The
death of this 2 ½ year-old male child . . . is
attributed to heat exposure due to confinement in a small
room with an electric space heater.” ECF No. 52-7. (ECF
December 2011, the Scanlans filed suit against Sunbeam,
stating claims for strict liability, negligence, breach of
warranty, violations of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act
(KCPA) and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, survival damages,
and punitive damages. ECF No. 1-1. Sunbeam moved for summary
judgment on all claims. ECF Nos. 81-84. This court granted
Sunbeam's motions for summary judgment on the
Scanlans' substantive claims, rendering the claims for
survival and punitive damages moot. ECF No. 113. The Scanlans
subsequently appealed this decision to the Sixth Circuit,
which affirmed the summary judgment ruling for the KCPA
claim, and reversed the ruling for the strict liability,
negligence, breach of warranty, and Moss-Magnuson Warranty
Act claims. ECF No. 119. Thus, the Scanlans' claims for
survival and punitive damages are again at issue.
trial court shall grant summary judgment in a case “if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party moving
for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
“demonstrating that [there is] no genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the
moving party satisfies this burden, the burden then shifts to
the nonmoving party to “point to evidence demonstrating
that there is a genuine issue of material fact for
trial.” Id. at 323 (emphasis added).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
consider the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378,
127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). However, the
nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538
(1986). There must actually be “evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving] party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
moves for summary judgment on the Scanlans' claims for
survival damages and punitive damages. These motions will be
considered in further detail below.
Motion for Summary Judgment as to the Scanlans' ...