Tom Appeals Blog

News and Observations About Law and Society

"As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule." - Albert Einstein

Kansas Rejects Application of Economic Loss Rule in Tort Actions

Posted: January 5, 2012 Filed under: Case Law, Commentary

Over the course of the past two decades, a good deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth has occurred in Florida over disputes concerning the boundaries of the Economic Loss Rule a/k/a the Economic Loss Doctrine. Beginning in the late 1990’s, the Florida Supreme Court began rolling the rule back to its principled origins. In 2004, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision that, I believe, was intended to eliminate application of the rule in most, if not all, common law tort actions. Not all Florida courts of appeal share my interpretation of that case, however. And, after all, they are the judges, not me.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court of Kansas, in its first pronouncement on the subject, unanimously rejected application of the Economic Loss Doctrine to common law tort actions. The case David v. Hett, No. 98,419 (Kan. December 30, 2011). The victory is significant well beyond the Davids and Mr. Hett, but it may be a shallow victory for the Davids given that most of their claims were dismissed after they failed to dispute certain facts in the time required by procedural rules. The Court noted that the failure to timely file the required statements constituted admissions that “effectively devastated many of the Davids’ claims. As the Court of Appeals observed, ‘Persons who fail to comply with Supreme Court Rule 141 do so at their peril.'”

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)