Hepler Broom, LLC Logo

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.

Both Hamilton and Zaffiri work in the firm’s St. Louis office and focus their practices on complex tort litigation, including premises liability and construction law.