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Workers Did Not Willfully Cause Co-Worker's Death
Description Trial court dismissed a suit for intentional tort brought by heirs of a worker who was killed on the job. Since there was no evidence of willful action by other workers that caused the death, workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Intentional Tort; Workers' Compensation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Donald Arnold worked for National Steel. He was killed when trapped between an overhead crane and a building support while he stood on the crane's railway preparing to work on a crane. The worker controlling the other crane knew the work was going to be done, but did not know that Arnold was already on the railway. Arnold's heirs sued the employer for intentional tort. Workers' compensation is the only remedy in such instances unless there is an intentional tort. The employer moved for summary judgment in its favor.
Decision Motion granted. Intentional tort requires evidence that the other employee had "1) actual knowledge; 2) that an injury was certain to occur; and 3) willfully disregarded that knowledge." Arnold's supervisor did not know that the crane that crushed him was going to be moved and the operator of the crane did not know that Arnold was on the crane railway. This was a risky procedure, but the employer had safety measures designed to reduce such injuries. Even if some workers were negligent, none willfully took steps to put Arnold in danger. Workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy.
Citation Arnold v. National Steel Corp., 95 F.Supp.2d 685 (E.D. Mich., 2000)

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