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OVERVIEW

Kara Kapke
Partner

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P 317-231-6491

F 317-231-7433

OVERVIEW

Kara Kapke
Partner

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P 317-231-6491

F 317-231-7433

Litigator and regulatory counselor Kara Kapke advises on issues involving autonomous vehicle technology, transportation policy, education, tax policy, First Amendment law, and other compliance and regulatory matters. She also offers diverse experience in defending schools, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, media outlets and other entities in complex litigation.

OVERVIEW

Kara Kapke Partner

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P : 317-231-6491

Litigator and regulatory counselor Kara Kapke advises on issues involving autonomous vehicle technology, transportation policy, education, tax policy, First Amendment law, and other compliance and regulatory matters. She also offers diverse experience in defending schools, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, media outlets and other entities in complex litigation.

Kara functions as outside general counsel for government agencies, schools and businesses of all sizes and involved in every phase of development. Kara’s ability to analyze a high level of detail and streamline sophisticated concepts into comprehensive strategy and workable solutions is at the heart of her dedication to serving as a trusted adviser.

Highly analytical, practical and focused, Kara’s legal acumen is complimented by her people skills and the immediate ease of communication she creates when serving on diverse client teams. Always direct and objective when assessing client strengths and weaknesses, Kara gets to the point quickly and is valued for her candor and intellectual acuity when faced with difficult challenges.

An active listener, balanced negotiator, and fervent advocate in and out of court, Kara mitigates problems and ultimately keeps client matters on track when and where it is needed most. Kara understands how institutional organizations and businesses operate and what drives their decision-making processes. She provides much-needed perspective and insight into identifying distinct objectives and then realizing tangible goals.

A former television journalist in Indiana, Texas and Pennsylvania, Kara works with colleagues and experts to simplify legal, scientific and medical jargon so it is more easily understood.

Honors

The Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2019

Indiana Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2010-2012, 2014-2018

EXPERIENCE
  • Barnes & Thornburg client Dow AgroSciences LLC (“DAS”) recently obtained a dismissal in a wrongful death action filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey against DAS and other defendants.

    The plaintiff’s state-court complaint alleged strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and loss of consortium relating to the manufacturing and sale of certain pesticides. Plaintiff also brought a survivor’s action which included claims of negligence and loss of consortium. On October 1, 2012, DAS filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the statute of limitations for the plaintiff’s claims against DAS had long expired. When filing her initial Complaint, the plaintiff had utilized New Jersey’s fictitious defendant rule and named ABC Company and John Does 1-100 as defendants, among others. Because Plaintiff failed to comply with the requirements of New Jersey’s fictitious defendant rule, DAS also argued that the plaintiff was not entitled to relate her addition of DAS back to the date of the original Complaint.

    After filing the motion to dismiss and threatening plaintiff’s counsel with a motion for sanctions for their continuous pursuit of a frivolous cause of action in violation of New Jersey law, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss DAS with prejudice three days before the motion hearing in late October.
  • Barnes & Thornburg LLP represented firm client, The Lafayette Journal & Courier, in a case that held that a newspaper is not liable for readers’ comments posted to its Web site in response to a story.

    A Purdue University student sued the newspaper alleging defamation, false light and emotional distress because of a story about the criminal "false reporting" charge filed after he reported he had been assaulted the same night as the disappearance and subsequent death of another student. The plaintiff alleged the article falsely implied that he was somehow involved in the other student's disappearance. The plaintiff also claimed the newspaper was liable for defamation because of third-party content that appeared in the comments section of the web story.

    In August 2009, the firm filed motions for judgment on the pleadings on all of plaintiff's claims. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana issued its opinion on March 26, granting judgment in favor of the newspaper in all respects. Specifically, the Court found that there was no basis for the emotional distress claim, that the article was true, and that the newspaper was immune under the Communications Decency Act from liability for potentially negative reader comments posted to the newspaper Web site.
  • Barnes & Thornburg LLP represents Dow AgroSciences LLC and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow Defendants), in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the Gresser family in Tippecanoe Superior Court, Indiana, against the Dow Defendants and Reliable Exterminators, Inc. The Gressers purchased a home located in West Lafayette, Indiana, from New Chauncey Foundation, Inc., into which they moved in May 2001. Reliable Exterminators, Inc. is alleged to have treated the home with Dursban TC for termites in February 2000. Plaintiffs allege that they suffered from numerous personal injuries including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing disorder, cognitive dysfunction and brain damage as a result of the alleged pesticide exposure, and were forced to vacate the home in June 2002. Plaintiffs’ causes of action include negligence and products liability claims alleging failure to warn and defective design and also punitive damages.

    The case was set for trial in October 2011 before Special Judge Robert Hall in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. On August 15, 2011, the Court granted the Dow Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ failure to warn claims based on the Indiana Product Liability Act. On September 28, 2011, the Court granted the Dow Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages and also granted summary judgment based on preemption on the Plaintiffs’ claims pursuant to PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing, 131 S. Ct. 2567, 2011 WL 2472790 (June 23, 2011), reh’g denied, 2011 WL 3557247 (Aug. 15, 2011).

    On October 4, 2011, the trial court entered a final judgment under Rule 54(B) on behalf of the Dow Defendants. The case was appealed before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the clients prevailed.
  • Barnes & Thornburg represented firm client, The Dow Chemical Company, in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit alleging that manufacturing workers developed Parkinson's Disease as a result of alleged exposure to Dow's trichloroethylene (TCE). To avoid the expiration of the statute of limitations, Plaintiffs alleged that Dow fraudulently withheld information about TCE and did not learn that Dow manufactured TCE at the workers' manufacturing plant until shortly before filing suit against Dow. The district court rejected these arguments, held the Plaintiffs' claims were time-barred, and granted Dow's motion to dismiss. Abney et al. v. Univar USA, Inc. et al., No. 5:10-cv-00303 (E.D. Ky. 2012).
  • Helped client obtain dismissal of claims brought by a former employee for defamation and violation of the Blacklisting Statute.
  • Helped client obtain dismissal under the Anti-SLAPP Act of defamation, invasion of privacy/false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims brought by a former employee against his former supervisor and a former subordinate. Because of the Anti-SLAPP victory, obtained a judgment in client's favor for attorneys' fees. Also obtained summary judgment on the former employee's wrongful discharge claim.
  • In chronic myelogenous leukemia wrongful death case alleging long term exposure to diesel fuel used to dilute Dow herbicides, summary judgment granted and affirmed because plaintiffs' circumstantial evidence of decedent's exposure was insufficient to satisfy West Virginia substantive state law proximate cause requirements.
  • Obtained summary judgment and an award of attorney's fees for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the national scientific journal it publishes, in a defamation action by a disgruntled equipment manufacturer, based on the journal's publication of a peer-reviewed, comparative study of sterile pharmaceutical-compounding devices.
  • Plaintiffs alleged that a child's cerebral palsy, neurodevelopmental delay, and neurological deficits were allegedly attributable to multiple in utero and post natal exposures to Dursban® L.O. Notwithstanding these allegations, Court granted summary judgment for Dow, finding no design defect and holding "Balancing the utility of the product against its risks, the Court finds that its benefits outweigh its risks." Court also excluded the exposure/dose opinions of Richard Fenske, Ph.D., MPH, and the specific medical causation opinions of Dr. Cynthia Bearer because they relied on Dr. Fenske's opinions; granted summary judgment because plaintiffs lacked admissible evidence of medical causation; excluded evidence of 1995 settlement of EPA civil administrative complaint regarding adverse effect reporting and evidence of June 2000 agreement with EPA to phase-out certain uses of chlorpyrifos-based products; and denied plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and confirmed that plaintiffs' medical causation evidence was inadmissible. See 2008 WL 5191865 (S.D. Iowa Nov. 3, 2008); 2008 WL 5142193 (S.D. Iowa Nov. 3, 2008); 2008 WL 51421788 (S.D. Iowa Aug. 15, 2008); 2008 WL 5383845 (S.D. Iowa Dec. 22, 2008).
  • Plaintiffs, a husband and wife, alleged that they used various insecticides containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos, including Dursban® TC manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, to make residential preconstruction termite applications as part of their pest control business. They contended that Mrs. Sanchez was exposed to these termiticides during her pregnancies with her two sons, and that both sons later developed autism and/or autism spectrum disorders as a result of those exposures. After extensive fact and expert discovery, Dow AgroSciences filed an expert-focused motion for summary judgment based on lack of medical causation. In lieu of responding to that motion, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed Dow AgroSciences and pursued their claims against remaining defendants. Sanchez v. Dow AgroSciences, Case No. C-1199-09-F (Tex. Dist. Ct. Aug. 17, 2011).
  • Represented a global chemical company in a suit won on appeal in the Kentucky state courts. The plaintiff alleged that she was exposed to the company’s trichloroethylene (TCE) in a number of ways: in utero, as a child when she would visit her parents at work and from the work clothes her parents brought home. After phased discovery on product identification, the trial court granted summary judgment to our client because the plaintiff did not prove she was exposed to TCE manufactured by the company. The plaintiff appealed and the Kentucky Court of Appeals dismissed her appeal.
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