On Wednesday, an appeal court held that an employee could continue with his intentional liability and negligent inspection claims against his employer and two security inspection companies.
In Logossou v AdvancePierre Foods Inc., the Ohio Court of Appeal in Cincinnati overruled a court of law dismissal of the employee's claims against his employer AdvancePierre Foods, Inc. of Cincinnati, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale , Arkansas and two third parties.
On August 26, 2015, employee Kossi Logossou used his hands to remove meat from a mixer blade when a colleague activated the force, causing him to suffer serious damage to the hand. He filed a deliberate damages lawsuit against AdvancePierre and claims that the company removed the security guard from the mixer and knew about the potential risks to him by using the equipment without guard. He also filed a negligent inspection application against two Ohio companies that had been hired to inspect the AdvancePierre plant and its mixer.
The trial court dismissed its allegations and claimed that the Ohio workers' compensation rules provided an exclusive remedy against his alleged damage to his employer, and that he failed to establish that the security and inspection companies owed him an obligation.
Mr. Logossou appealed and argued that the companies owed him a caregiver and that it was foreseeable that he would be harmed if they failed to inspect the mixer and ensure that it complied with the applicable safety standards and regulations. He claimed that the companies failed to ensure that the mixer was safe and that "as a direct and close result" he suffered serious injuries including amputation of three fingers.
The Court argued that Mr Logossou presented sufficient evidence to make a reasonable contradiction between his injury and third party liability for not exercising reasonable care, and that he could therefore proceed with the claim in question.
The court also found that the trial wrongly dismissed the employee's claim against AdvancePierre. The court found that Ohio courts have found that when an employee provides sufficient evidence that an employer has deliberately removed a security guard for security devices, "there is a revocable presumption of employer intention".
Mr. Logossou testified that the company deliberately removed the security guard and demanded that he use the mixer without the guards. The Court held Mr Logossou's assertion that the security guard was deliberately removed was sufficient to continue with his claims on that occasion.
The court was therefore referred to the judgment court's judgment and annulled the case.
AdvancePierre Foods could not be reached for comment.