Kurt Hentz and David Deterding obtained summary judgment in favor of Missouri American Water Company
On January 4, 2012, Kurt Hentz and David Deterding obtained summary judgment in favor of Missouri American Water Company (MAWC) in St. Louis County. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained a back injury while at work for MAWC. He initially filed a Workers' Compensation action and MAWC denied that the alleged incident was a prevailing factor in the plaintiff's injury. The plaintiff then filed a civil action in St. Louis County, and MAWC filed a motion for summary judgment based on the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act. The plaintiff, citing McCracken v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, 298 S.W.3d 473 (Mo. banc. 2009), MARA v. Dept. of Labor & Industrial Relations, 277 S.W.3d 670, 679 (Mo. banc. 2009) and State ex rel. KCP & L Greater Missouri Operations Co. v. Cook, 353 S.W.3d 14 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011), argued that a denial that the work injury was a prevailing factor gives rise to a plaintiff's cause of action in civil court. The Court entered judgment in favor of MAWC based on our argument that the aforementioned opinions apply solely to occupational disease cases and that an employer's denial that a work accident was a prevailing factor is not sufficient to give rise to a plaintiff's cause of action in civil court.