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Kim v. McNeil-PPC, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 12, 2014

SOON H. KIM, Plaintiff,
v.
MCNEIL-PPC, INC., a foreign corporation, Individually and as a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, MCNEIL CONSUMER HEALTHCARE DIVISION OF MCNEIL— PPC, INC., MCNEIL CONSUMER & SPECIALTY PHARMACEUTICALS, a Division of Johnson & Johnson, JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Individually and by and through its agents, McNeil-PPC, Inc. and McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, and PFIZER, INC., a foreign corporation, JOHNSON & JOHNSON SERVICES, INC., Individually and by and through its agents, MCNEIL-PPC, Inc. and McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Soon H. Kim ("Plaintiff") filed this action against Defendants McNeil-PPC, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a Division of Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson, individually and by and through its agents, McNeil-PPC, Inc. and McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer, Inc., a foreign corporation, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., individually and by and through its agents McNeil-PPC, Inc., and McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals ("Defendants") alleging product liability, negligence, and breach of an implied and express warranty. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied in part and granted in part.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiff, a 56-year-old female, traveled to the Emergency Department of Northwest Community Hospital complaining of headaches, nausea, and photophobia on August 22, 2008. On presentment to the emergency room, Plaintiff received a 25 milligram intravenous dose of Benadryl, a medication "developed, designed, manufacture[ed] and market[ed]" by Defendants. Immediately upon receiving the injection of Benadryl, Plaintiff experienced a "sharp pain radiating from the injection site to her mid to upper arm." Plaintiff alleged that she began to "feel as though her body was shrinking" and, shortly thereafter, lost consciousness.

Following the Benadryl injection, Kim began to experience gradually escalating symptoms of intracranial brain damage, including but not limited to, short-term memory loss, peripheral neuropathies, weakness of her extremities, inability to focus, severe headaches, perpetual intermittent tachycardia, and extreme sensitivities to sound, light, and fluctuations in temperature. Plaintiff alleges that the complications from the Benadryl injection required Plaintiff to "see numerous doctors, and visit multiple hospitals in an attempt to alleviate and/or cure the aforementioned symptoms."

Plaintiff alleges that her neurological impairments are a direct and proximate result of the chemical shocks she received from the Benadryl injection in 2008. Plaintiff further alleges that the resulting intracranial brain damage caused by the Benadryl injection has rendered her unable to work at her dry cleaners or in any capacity and has caused her acute and prolonged physical and mental pain and anguish.

Plaintiff filed this action in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois on February 18, 2014, and this case was removed to this Court on June 3, 2014. Presently before the court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court treats all well-pleaded allegations as true, and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Justice v. Town of Cicero, 577 F.3d 768, 771 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court's inquiry is generally limited to the factual allegations contained within the four corners of the complaint. In re Nat'l Indus. Chem. Co. v. Steege, No. 98 C 4081, 1998 WL 887065, at *2 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 11, 1998) (citing Hill v. Trustees of Ind. Univ., 537 F.2d 248, 251 (7th Cir. 1976)).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety and argue that Plaintiff's claims for negligence (Count III) and breach of warranty (Counts IV and V) are time-barred by the statute of limitations. A cause of action for negligence and breach of warranty must be filed within two (2) years and four (4) years, respectively, of its accrual. 735 ILCS 5/13-202; 810 ILCS 5/2-725. Defendants argue that the statute of limitations for negligence began on August 22, 2008, the date the incident occurred, whereupon "the cause of action accrued." Plaintiff, on the other hand, contends that the two-year statute of limitations did not start to run until she first discovered that the injuries she faced were caused by the Benadryl injection during the summer of 2012. While Plaintiff argues that her symptoms became "increasingly more severe and is affecting her daily life, " she maintains that she did not know about the cause of her injury until 2012.

Count III: Negligence

To determine the trigger date for the statute of limitations for the present negligence claim, the court must consider this central question: when an accident occurs which causes the plaintiff to suffer an immediate physical injury and later more serious injuries appear which arose from the same accident, when does the plaintiff's cause of action "accrue" for statute of limitations purposes?

The court in Golla v. General Motors Corp. considered this same question. 167 Ill.2d 353, 359, 657 N.E.2d 894, 212 Ill.Dec. 549 (1995). There, the plaintiff suffered from an immediate injury (e.g., chest contusion) and later developed more serious injuries (e.g., reflex sympathetic dystrophy) as a result of a car accident. The plaintiff argued that the discovery rule should apply to allow postponement of the statute of limitations "until the injured party knows or should reasonably have known that he has been injured and that his injury was wrongfully caused." Id. at 361 (citing Jackson Jordan, Inc. v. Leydig, Voit & Mayer, 158 Ill.2d 240, 249, 198 Ill.Dec. 786, 633 N.E.2d 627 (1994)); Nolan v. Johns-Manville Asbestos & Magesia Materials Co., 74 Ill.App.3d 778, 786 (Ill. 1st Dist. 1979). The court, however, refusing to apply the "discovery rule" where the plaintiff's injuries were caused by a sudden traumatic event, found that the plaintiff's ...


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