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Negligence suit over workplace attack tossed

Posted On: Oct. 15, 2020 10:02 AM CST

truck driver

A contracted truck driver who was attacked by a paper company employee in a warehouse can’t sue the company for negligence, as the exclusive remedy provision bars the statutory employee from suing following a workplace injury, an appeals court in Missouri ruled Tuesday.


Robby Sebacher, a truck driver for CRH Transportation, was attacked by a Midland Paper Company employee while visiting a warehouse as part of CRH’s contract with Midland Paper, which he sued following the incident accusing it of being “negligent in failing to supervise and train (his attacker) and in retaining him as an employee,” states documents in Robby Sebacher, v. Midland Paper Company, filed in the Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Division Four in St. Louis.


Midland stated in its defense that it was immune from the lawsuit because workers compensation law dictated that Mr. Sebacher was a statutory employer, per court documents. A circuit court subsequently granted a motion for summary judgment according to documents.


The appeals court affirmed, writing that state law defines a statutory employer as “any person who has work done under contract on or about his premises which is an operation of the usual business which he there carries on shall be deemed an employer and shall be liable under this chapter to such contractor, his subcontractors, and their employees, when injured or killed on or about the premises of the employer while doing work which is in the usual course of his business.”