On April 27, 2017, Kevin Hartley was working for his uncle, Tony Hartley, at Hartley’s Painting. Hartley was refinishing the bathtub at an apartment complex in Nashville, Tenn.
While on the job, Kevin was wearing a respirator mask and gloves but was overcome by fumes from the NAPCO White Lighting Low Odor Stripper. He passed out and died the following day at the age of 21.
Wendy Hartley, his mother and special administrator of Kevin’s estate, filed a lawsuit against the North American Polymer Company Ltd. (NAPCO), which sold the product. The lawsuit then added Samax Enterprises Inc. (Samax), the company that manufactured the product. Wendy Hartley set out two causes of action for each of the two defendants. One was in strict product liability and the other was in negligence, alleging that the product was “unreasonably dangerous and toxic, and that defendants did not adequately warn users about the danger and did not adequately test the product to ensure that it was safe for its reasonable anticipated use.”