An oil pipeline worker who was seriously injured by the pipe-laying machine he was driving cannot be held liable for his employer as the current seller of the machines.
I Scott v Key Energy Services Inc . The 8th American Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis said Wednesday that the exclusive measure in the North Dakota Workers 'Compensation Act prevented employees' claims.
Key Energy provides oil and gas pipeline maintenance and uses a device designed and manufactured by Hydra-Walk Inc. that enables operators to pick up and drop pipes. In 2008, Key Energy merged with Hydra-Walk and became the owner of the Hydra-Walk system's patents and equipment.
In April 2018, Scott filed a claim for product liability and negligence against Key Energy and Hydra-Walk, claiming that the system was defective. unreasonably dangerous and caused his injuries. He claimed that Key Energy, as successor to Hydra-Walk, took responsibility for the design, manufacture, sales and leasing of the systems. Key Energy filed a summary judgment on the grounds that the State Workers' Compensation Act was Scott's exclusive remedy.
A district court granted the motion, arguing that Scott's claims were prohibited by the exclusive remedy, and Scott appealed.
The Board of Appeal upheld the decision. The court rejected Scott's claims that Hydra-Walk was a third party and noted that the merger took place five years before his accident and that Hydra-Walk ceased to exist. The court also found that Scott & # 39 ;s argument that the dual capacity doctrine – where an employee can claim the employer if the employer has a second obligation independent of his primary obligation as an employer – was not applicable to his claim.  In a disagreement, Judge Jane Kelly held that the Court of Appeal's decision that the double capacity doctrine did not apply "left open the possibility of an exception to the exclusive rule of action where the employer has a special separate legal entity" and that the law "benefits as permitted (Mr. ) Scott to pursue his claims for damages' against his employer, as a successor to Hydra-Walk, under the double exemption from the exclusive remedy.