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Workers' Compensation

Iowa: Tort Action Alleging Co-Employee Gross Negligence is Unsuccessful

An Iowa appellate court affirmed a trial court's decision that granted summary judgment to five co-employees of a plaintiff who had been sued under the state's special "gross negligence" exception to co-employee immunity. The plaintiff had sustained severe injuries while operating a truck-mounted drill and auger. He collected workers' compensation benefits, but sued five co-employees, contending they knew that the task was extremely dangerous and yet allowed it to go on. The appellate court noted, however, that the plaintiff was required to show more than mere actuarial foreseeability that an accident and injury could occur. Evidence suggested that the employer conducted some 900 borings per year over a four-year time frame and yet, there had been no injuries or accidents using that type of drill and auger. The appellate court concluded that there was no evidence that there was no evidence the plaintiff's accident was probable, certainly no evidence that the defendants knew that the accident was probable.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the co-Editor-in-Chief and 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 Oppedahl v. Various Employees of the Iowa DOT, 2021 Iowa App. LEXIS 84 (Jan. 21, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 111.03.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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