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Property Owner Not Liable for Independent Contractor's Death
Description Amoco employed Union Tank Car to clean and maintain its tank cars at an Amoco facility. Union employee died in tank car that was not properly marked as to content, but Amoco was not liable because Union was an independent contractor that required its employees to follow its, not Amoco's, safety procedures.
Topic Torts
Key Words Independent Contractor, Negligence, Safety
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Carter, an experienced employee of Union Tank Car Co. (UTLX), was assigned to clean, repair, and maintain Amoco's tank cars at one of Amoco's facilities. He died of asphyxiation while working inside a railroad tank car filled with pure nitrogen. His widow sued Amoco for negligence because the tank car was not properly marked as to its contents. District court dismissed because UTLX was an independent contractor and Amoco had no duty to protect UTLX employees.
Decision Affirmed. UTLX was an independent contractor. Although UTLX worked exclusively for Amoco at this facility, the evidence "indicates that UTLX used its own safety equipment, followed its own safety procedures, was not subject to Amoco's safety procedures, and informed its employees not to rely on Amoco "safe" tags as an alternative to conducting their own safety tests." Amoco did not breach any duty to Carter.
Citation Carter v. American Oil Co., 1998 WL 138773 (7th Cir.)
139 F3d 1158 (7th Cir., 1998)

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