Recently, in a Federal Court in Louisville, Kentucky, a Federal Judge threw out a products liability case that had to do with a Louisville Car Accident. In the case at hand, a woman from Louisville took an Ambien sleeping pill before she went to bed. She applied a cosmetic facial mud mask and put curlers in her hair. About 20 minutes later she was involved in an automobile accident in which she struck a utility pole about a mile from her home. (See Gibson v. Sanofi-A Ventis U.S., LLC, 2009 WL 3490454 (W.D.Ky.)) At the time of the accident, she was dressed for bed, was not wearing her glasses and was wearing a mud mask and hair curlers. Her Louisville car accident lawyer filed a products liability case alleging negligence, strict product liability, breaches of express and implied warranties, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of Kentucky Consumer Protection Act in the manufacture and sale of Ambien.
Ms. Gibson contended that she was “sleep-driving,” which is an involuntary activity and that but for her taking the Ambien this accident would not have occurred. Ms. Gibson presented the court with many specialist doctors. Dr. McCullough, a physician who treated Ms. Gibson at the hospital, concluded that she had been driving herself to the hospital for cardiac symptoms and fell asleep at the wheel due to her earlier ingestion of two Ambien. Ambien is the most widely prescribed sleep aid in the United States. A Dr. Rodger explained his basis for concluding that it is “medically probably’ that the accident was caused by sleep driving caused by Ambien. Id.
Ambien does come with warnings as to what you should or should not do after you take one. Driving a car is one of the warnings.
Kentucky does recognize product liability claims for strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. But, it does state that a common element of each is demonstration that a product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. The court held that such a product was not and that the warnings that came with the drug were sufficient.
Ms. Gibson’s Louisville car accident lawyer also argued that Ambien was defective because of a “but for” argument, that but for her the Ambien causing her to “sleep-drive” she would not have had the car accident. This is the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. But, the court held that it did not apply in that the doctrine is only to be applied when the nature of the accident itself not only clearly supports the inference of negligence but excludes all others. In that Ms. Gibson could not testify as to what happened right before the car accident because she does not remember, she cannot exclude all other possible negligent acts. This is something a Louisville car accident attorney would help review with you if you were ever in a similar situation.
And finally, the court was not persuaded and did not give credence to the doctors that testified in that Dr. Rodgers was not an epidemiologist and had no experience in the area of sleep medicine, and Dr. Bhupatlam finding of a highly probable cause was based upon only scant review of a number of case reports which he could not identify very clearly. And thus, the court determined that there is no record evidence of medical causation established through any reliable scientific method.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville car accident matter, please call and speak to a Louisville car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!