Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Indiana

Grounds for sue?

I recently had a clogged toilet issue. My sister, being the handy woman she is, spent 4 hours using the plunger and the auger, and then removing the entire toilet from it's foundation to find that paper towels were the culprit. Out of curiosity, we were wondering if someone would be able to sue the paper towel company for not stating any of that info on the package.? Sounds silly but we were definitely wondering. Thank you!

Asked on 6/15/07, 4:10 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

C. David DuMond Law Offices of David DuMond

Re: Grounds for sue?

Good question for a Friday night. Maybe you could find a lawyer who would sue a paper towel company for failing to disclose that their product could clog toilet plumbing. The problem in making a case like that is the so-called "reasonable man" standard, or as we say now, the "reasonable person" standard. Would a reasonable person expect to flush paper towels down the toilet with no adverse consequences? I think there are many judges who would not even let that question go to the jury, but would dismiss the case. But if the case made it to the jury room, then I think the jury, considering themselves reasonable people, would decide against you. I myself wouldn't just laugh you out of the office. Maybe you could confer with some plumbers, find out how often this happens. Are you sure there isn't a little warning on the package?

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Answered on 6/15/07, 9:04 pm
William Morrison Action Defense Center

Re: Grounds for sue?

The only practical lawsuit would be a class action representing all people who had suffered damages after flushing paper towels down their toilets.

Your attorney would run advertisements targeted to solicit these people to join the class as plaintiffs.

The difficulty presented is that anyone who flushes paper towels down a toilet is too stupid to read, and thus no response to the advertisements would be forthcoming.

You could always expand the class to include anyone who flushes anything larger than a bowling ball, e.g. deceased livestock, car parts, or furniture.

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Answered on 6/15/07, 10:49 pm

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