Bierman v Kimmie Violette
Feb. 14, 2017
The court of appeals reverses a dismissal of a claim against a co-employee and found the allegations support an independent duty of care distinct from the employer's duty to create a safe workplace.
The claim alleges the employee used a ladder to enter a loft space, and when the co-employee returned the 12 foot ladder it was not fully extended resulting in the injury. Claimant filed a claim within the post-reform gap regarding co-employee immunity.
The issue if a duty was owed to a co-employee is a question of law. The duty to lock and secure the ladder was the "root of the harm" independent of the duty to provide a safe work place, assuming the facts alleged were true. The consideration of OSHA standards was irrelevant to the determination regarding the adequacy of the pleadings to withstand a motion to dismiss.
The case involved a 2009 accident at Espino's Bar resulting in alleged injuries to the finger, elbow and shoulder.