Corvias Military Living, LLC, and Corvias Military Construction, LLC, Appellants,
Ventamatic, Ltd., and Jakel, Inc., Appellees.
BY THE COURT
Kansas Product Liability Act (KPLA), K.S.A. 60-3301 et seq.,
codifies a modified version of the common-law economic loss
doctrine. In a product liability cause of action, the KPLA
excludes recovery of damages for any "direct or
consequential economic loss" but permits a plaintiff to
recover damages for any damage to property. K.S.A.
60-3302(d). This includes damage to the product itself.
Because the KPLA excludes from the scope of a product
liability cause of action any claim to recover direct or
consequential economic loss, the KPLA does not subsume or
extinguish any legally viable alternative cause of action
seeking recovery for direct or consequential economic loss.
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 54 Kan.App.2d 169,
397 P.3d 441 (2017).
from Geary District Court; Benjamin J. Sexton, judge.
Judgment of the Court of Appeals reversing the district court
is affirmed in part and reversed in part. Judgment of the
district court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and
remanded with directions.
Charles L. Philbrick, pro hac vice, of Rathje & Woodward,
LLC, of Wheaton, Illinois, argued the cause, and William J.
Bahr, of Arthur-Green, LLP, of Manhattan, was with him on the
briefs for appellants.
A. Lowry, of Fisher, Patterson, Sayler & Smith, L.L.P.,
of Topeka, argued the cause, and James P. Nordstrom, of the
same firm, was with him on the briefs for appellee
E. Rogers, of Foulston Siefkin LLP, of Wichita, argued the
cause, and Daniel J. Buller, of the same firm, was with him
on the briefs for appellee Jakel Motors, Inc.
plaintiffs in this lawsuit-Corvias Military Living, LLC, and
Corvias Military Construction, LLC-collectively form a
construction firm specializing in building military housing.
Corvias built thousands of homes near Fort Riley in Geary
County. In these homes, Corvias installed bathroom ceiling
fans constructed by the defendants-Ventamatic, Ltd., and
Jakel Motors, Inc. After installation, several of the ceiling
fans caught fire and damaged several homes. Corvias then
sought to mitigate further damage by removing and replacing
the remaining fans. This lawsuit followed.
district court entered summary judgment against Corvias,
holding that the economic loss doctrine barred Corvias from
recovery. Corvias appealed, and the Court of Appeals
reversed. The panel reasoned that the economic loss doctrine
did not bar Corvias from asserting a product liability claim
because the property damage to the homes was not economic
loss. We granted review.
and Procedural Background
is a military housing developer that built and now manages
privatized family housing at Fort Riley, Kansas. During the
construction phase, Corvias, through its subcontractors,
purchased and installed approximately 3, 785
"NuVent" bathroom ceiling fans into the Fort Riley
homes. Ventamatic manufactures the NuVent model bathroom
exhaust fans, and some of these fans were built with electric
motors manufactured by Jakel.
12, 2012, a fire occurred in one of the homes. A defective
electrical motor in a NuVent bathroom exhaust fan allegedly
caused the fire. Corvias claims the fire caused $656.26 in
damage. Then, another fire occurred in a different housing
unit constructed by Corvias. Again, a defective electrical
motor in a NuVent bathroom exhaust fan allegedly caused the
fire. This fire caused extensive damage to the home including
walls, ceiling, rafters, artwork, and personal property of
the tenants. Additionally, the fire caused damage to the
adjoining townhome. In total, this fire caused $88, 994 in
fires were not the only problem Corvias had with the NuVent
fans. Before the fires, Corvias allegedly experienced over
100 failed NuVent fans. So, following the second fire,
Corvias removed the remaining 3, 783 NuVent fans from its
housing units and replaced them with a new brand of bathroom
fans. This removal and replacement of the fans cost an
estimated $459, 027.
filed suit in Geary County District Court against Ventamatic,
Jakel, and four other defendants. In Corvias' amended
petition, Corvias asserted: (1) a product liability claim
under the Kansas Product Liability Act; (2) claims for
breaches of express and implied warranties of
merchantability; (3) an unjust enrichment claim; (4) a claim
under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301
et seq.; and (5) breach of contract. Corvias sought $459,
027.26 in damages for the removal and replacement of the 3,
783 NuVent fans and $50, 000 for property damage associated
with the two fires-the amount of its insurance deductible.
voluntarily dismissed its claims against the four other
defendants- including all its breach of contract claims-with
prejudice. Ventamatic and Jakel filed motions for summary
judgment arguing the economic loss doctrine barred
Corvias' product liability claims because the damages
incurred were purely economic. Ventamatic also argued