A federal judge has granted, in part, Adidas America, Inc.’s motion to dismiss in a case where a minor and his parent sued the sporting goods manufacturer for alleged injuries suffered when he was playing basketball, while wearing allegedly defective Adidas basketball shoes.
In siding with Adidas, the court agreed that the plaintiff’s service papers were not sent to “a proper party at Adidas America, Inc. and that service of process was therefore inappropriate under Arkansas law.” It also agreed with Adidas that the plaintiff failed to state a claim for recovery of medical expenses.
The impetus for the lawsuit was an injury that occurred on October 18, 2004, when Cody Broadway was playing basketball and the Adidas basketball shoes he was wearing malfunctioned. Broadway claimed that the midsole of the heel unit separated or tore during use resulting in him breaking his right fibula and tearing a ligament in his left ankle area. Broadway and his father sued, claiming that the shoes purchased from the defendants were defective and unreasonably dangerous to foreseeable users or consumers at the time they left defendants’ control.
The plaintiffs filed the action on the basis of diversity jurisdiction in the fall of 2007. On May 13, 2008, the defendants filed the motion to dismiss.
The defendants moved to dismiss this action, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2), 12(b)(4), and 12(b)(5) on the following grounds: (1) this court’s order of January 9, 2008, granting plaintiffs additional time in which to effect service of process should be vacated and plaintiffs’ complaint and amended complaint dismissed for failure to timely effect service; (2) plaintiffs’ attempts at service of process were defective; (3) Adidas, Inc. does not exist; (4) this court lacks personal jurisdiction over Adidas-Salomon; (5) plaintiffs fail to state a claim for recovery of medical expenses incurred during Cody Broadway’s minority; and (6) plaintiffs fail to state a claim for recovery of loss of enjoyment of life damages.
The court began by rejecting the defendants’ argument that the court’s January 9, 2008 order granting the plaintiffs an extension of time in which to effect service of process should be vacated and the plaintiffs’ complaint and amended complaint dismissed for failure to timely effect service.
Turning to the second and third arguments, the court again sided with the defendants. Regarding the second, the court wrote that the “attempt at service was defective because the letters of March 24, 2008 and service papers enclosed therewith were not addressed to an addressee or agent of the addressee that is a natural person.” On the third, it held that since there is “no such entity as Adidas, Inc,” the claim must be dismissed.
As for the fourth argument, that the court lacks personal jurisdiction over Adidas-Salomon, the court agreed noting that it cannot exercise such jurisdiction over “corporations with no greater connection to Arkansas other than their ownership of subsidiary corporations.”
Finally, the court also agreed with the defendants that the plaintiffs failed “to state a claim for recovery of medical expenses” or for the “recovery of loss of enjoyment of life damages.”
Cody Broadway and Bill Broadway, as next friend of Cody Broadway v. Adidas America, INC. et al.; E.D. Ark; No. 3:07cv000149 SWW, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54830; 7/10/08
Attorneys of Record: (for plaintiffs) Garland L. Watlington, Watlington Law Firm, Jonesboro, AR; (for defendants) Dustin H. Jones, John V. Phelps, Womack, Landis, Phelps & McNeill, P.A., Jonesboro, AR.