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United States: Shareholder/Owner of Equipment May Be Liable in Tort to Injured Employee

June 21, 2018 (1 min read)

Construing Oklahoma law, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal district court’s dismissal of a negligence action filed against the sole stockholder of a worker’s employer, finding the district court failed to consider the stockholder's “persona” or “identity,” as required under Okla. Stat. tit. 85A, § 5(A), in determining whether the exclusivity provision applied. The stockholder owned a trailer that collapsed on the worker in the course of the latter’s employment. The worker and his spouse sued the stockholder and the district court dismissed the case. Noting that it had solicited the view of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for a proper interpretation of the statute, the 10th Circuit said the district court committed error when it read the Oklahoma statute automatically to immunize both employers and their stockholders from liability for work-related negligence. 

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

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. 

See Odom v. Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16411 (10th Cir., June 19, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 112.01.

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