A federal court in Missouri has dismissed, under the economic loss doctrine, a negligent misrepresentation claim against a paint manufacturer involving a purportedly defective product and alleging economic loss only. Dannix Painting, LLC v. The Sherwin-Williams Co., No. 4:12-cv-01640 CDP (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Mo., E. Div., decided December 3, 2012).

The plaintiff is a painting contractor that was hired to paint new buildings at a Florida Air Force base. Due to noxious odors from some of the defendant’s products, the plaintiff sought advice for alternatives, and, using a third recommended product, the plaintiff claims to have sustained financial loss when the paint delaminated some of the surfaces to which it was applied. The plaintiff alleged that “defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in providing information about appropriate products for the required application. Plaintiff relied on this information and claims it caused the pecuniary loss for which it seeks damages.”

According to the court, at issue was whether Missouri’s economic loss doctrine, which prevents plaintiffs from seeking recovery in tort for purely economic losses, precludes the plaintiff’s negligent misrepresentation claim. Because the state’s supreme court has “yet to decide whether the economic loss doctrine bars negligent misrepresentation claims related to defective products,” the court was required to predict whether it would do so. Since only rare exceptions have been allowed under the doctrine, none of which applied here, the federal court ruled that the doctrine barred the plaintiff’s claim.