November 29, 2021

Volume XI, Number 333

Advertisement
Advertisement

November 29, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

Co-Employee Liability Limited by Missouri Courts

In Robinson v Hooker, the Western District Court of Appeals held that the Workers Compensation Act did not extend its immunity to coworkers.  For two years, it appeared that there was an open season on co-employees in Missouri.  However, in Hansen v. Ritter, at least a part of the protection was restored when the Western District held that, while not "immune," co-employees did not owe a personal duty of care to provide a safe workplace for fellow employees.  Hansen involved to supervisors who were sued solely on the basis that they had failed to do certain things to provide a safe work environment. Consequently, the scope of protection provided by the "no duty" rule did not appear to be as broad as the pre-Hooker immunity cases.

Carmen appears to apply the "no duty" rule as broadly as the old immunity concept. In Carmen, a firefighter was sued by the widow of another firefighter for negligently backing over the fellow firefighter.  The plaintiff clearly alleged that defendant had operated the fire truck negligently and had failed to exercise the highest degree of care in the operation of the fire truck.  The court held that as a matter of law the defendant's conduct in backing the fire truck was subsumed in the employer's nondelegable duty to provide a safe place to work and, therefore, he owed no independent duty to the deceased. The court stated that in order to state a claim against a coworker, the plaintiff must allege "an affirmative act directed at a particular employee that places the co-employee's conduct outside the scope of the employer's non-deliverable duties."  Consequently, Carmen appears to expand the "no duty" concept to essentially the same scope as the prior immunity cases.

© Copyright 2021 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 15
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Karrie Clinkinbeard, Fire, Electrical, Liability, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale
Partner

Karrie Clinkinbeard is a member of the firm’s Fire and Electrical Liability practice group. She represents utility companies, businesses, product manufacturers and fireworks companies, among others, in matters involving fires, explosions, electrocution, chemical release, product failure and carbon monoxide poisoning. As one of an elite group of attorneys accredited as a Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), certified by the National Association of Fire Investigators, Karrie stays on the cutting edge of new developments in fire science. This CFEI certification is...

816-472-3175
Lynn Hursh, Trial, Products, Fire Electric, Liability, Attorney, Armstrong
Partner

Lynn Hursh serves as lead trial counsel in the defense of product manufacturers, service providers and energy suppliers in the gas and power industries. These matter primarily involve fires, explosions and toxic releases. Involved from the very beginning of an event, Lynn strategically addresses the unexpected and unique challenges posed by catastrophic events. He is knowledgeable in formalized fire and explosion investigation procedures, the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony, and evidence spoliation prevention and accident scene preservation.

816-472-3106
Gerald A. King, Explosion, fire, Electrocution litigation, attorney, Armstrong
Partner

Jerry King practices in all aspects of explosion, fire, and electrocution litigation, including products liability, class actions, trials, and appeals. As a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), as certified by the National Certification Board of the National Association of Fire Investigators and recognized by National Fire Protection Association 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, Jerry’s knowledge and experience allows him to provide effective and efficient solutions to resolve even the most complex case. An authority on these issues, he is often sought after as...

816-472-3126
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement