Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Jan. 2, 2014, 8:20am

An Alton liquor store accused of selling a bath salts “drug,” is seeking to dismiss the case arguing the manufacturer should be held liable, not it.

According to the complaint filed April 19, plaintiff Shirley Morgan, as special administrator of the estate of Tonia Marie Whitehead, claims defendant William F. Brockman sold and distributed 500 milligram packets of “Up Energizing Aromatherapy Powder,” more commonly known as bath salts.

The packets are known to be used as a recreational drug, containing the chemical methlyenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which is a stimulant similar to cocaine or amphetamines, the suit states.

Morgan claims Whitehead consumed the packets in April 2011, became sick and died a day later at Alton Memorial Hospital. Morgan says she believes Whitehead obtained the bath salts from someone who purchased them at defendant Purnima LLC, doing business as Broadway Package Liquor.

Defendant Purnima filed a motion to dismiss counts IV and V of the amended complaint on Oct. 25 through attorney John P. Cunningham and Denise Baker-Seal of Brown & James in Belleville, because those are the counts directed at the defendant and are based in “strict product liability.”

Purnima argues that it should be dismissed because the manufacturer of the product is known.

“Once the plaintiff has filed a complaint against the manufacturer… the court shall order the dismissal of a product liability action based on any theory or doctrine against the certifying defendant,” provided the defendant did not have some control over the design or manufacture of the product, knowledge of the defect or didn’t create the defect in the product, the motion states.

William F. Brockman Wholesale Tobacco & Candy and Ravikumar P. Modi are also named defendants.

Morgan seeks a judgment of more than $500,000.

Ruth scheduled a case management conference for Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.

Lanny Darr of Alton represents the plaintiff.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-608

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