Attorneys obtained summary judgment in a personal injury action brought against our client's insured, a tire service company
Attorneys obtained summary judgment in a personal injury action brought against our client's insured, a tire service company. The plaintiff, an employee of the tire service company, died after attempting to change a bus tire on soft soil on the shoulder of the road. The jacks placed under the bus sank into the soil, crushing the plaintiff. A subsequent OSHA investigation revealed that the plaintiff's service vehicle was not equipped with adequate cribbing to support the jacks used to change the tire. OSHA ultimately issued a citation for a "serious" violation, due to the company's failure to equip the plaintiff's truck with proper cribbing and for failing to have a company policy on the use of cribbing. Plaintiff's estate further alleged that the employer was negligent in responding to the service call when it was not an approved contractor for the road. Evidence was also presented indicating that the bus could have been parked on pavement or the bus driver could have lifted the tag axle, which would have negated the use of cribbing entirely. On the summary judgment motion, we successfully argued that plaintiff's claims were barred by the Workers' Compensation bar, as there was no evidence that the employer committed an intentional wrong or that the injury was substantially certain to occur. The court agreed, stating that the employers actions, at their worst, only amounted to gross negligence and that plaintiff's claims were therefore barred under state law.