Missouri Supreme Court Affirms Trial Court’s Ruling in Co-employee Case
|Kathleen Hamilton||Brad Zaffiri|
Partner Kathleen Hamilton and associate attorney Brad Zaffiri obtained an opinion from the Missouri Supreme Court, affirming the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of HeplerBroom’s client. [Matthew Fogerty v. Larry Meyer, Missouri Supreme Court No. SC96030]. The ruling in this case changes Missouri law regarding co-employee liability and when one co-employee may sue another.
The lawsuit arose from a workplace accident that occurred in 2011 when Plaintiff was injured by the operation of a front loader while building a stone fountain. Plaintiff sued his co-employee for plaintiff’s injuries. The trial court sustained the co-employee’s motion for summary judgment; that ruling was subsequently appealed. The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment, finding that the co-employee’s negligence was the result of a breach of the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a safe workplace. Because the employer failed to provide a safe manner and means for the work, any negligence arising in injuries was the negligence of the employer such that there was no independent duty giving rise to a separate cause of action against the co-employee. A summary of the case can be read here.