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Oklahoma: Intentional Tort Case May Continue Under “Substantially Certain” Rule

July 08, 2016 (1 min read)

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that there were material issues of fact as to whether the decedent’s employer knew that injury or death was substantially certain to result from the task decedent and his coworkers were directed to complete and the conditions in which they were required to work, where decedent, who was a mere journeyman apprentice, with nine months experience, was electrocuted when he positioned himself between a high voltage junction box and a metal barricade that had been constructed to prevent damage to the box by vehicle traffic in the area. The court noted that the employer had made a number of decisions that contributed to the fatal injury: (1) not cutting the power and therefore placing the convenience of its customers over the safety of its employees; (2) not using the parking stands provided on the transformer and junction box; (3) not removing the illegal metal barricade or at least the front of the barricade; (4) not placing safety blankets over the metal barricade; and (5) allowing a six foot two, two hundred pound apprentice to assume the most dangerous position for installation of the high-voltage electrical service and enter the insufficient space between the high voltage junction box and the illegal barricade. The Court added that the setup not only violated OSHA rules, it was also contrary to the electrical code, state law, and the employer’s own warning sticker on the junction box. The trier of fact should be allowed to make a factual determination, held the Court.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Tiger v. Verdigris Valley Elec. Coop., [2016 OK 74] (June 21, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 103.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.