News Brief

Young Obtains Motion to Dismiss a Wrongful Death Action

July 2, 2020

Rebecca Young (Of Counsel-Alabama) prevailed on a motion to dismiss a wrongful death action involving an employee who fell at work. Wilson Elser’s client is a large business services company that provides security, janitorial and staffing services to more than half of the Fortune 500 companies in the United States and Canada. In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the client negligently and wantonly failed to provide a safe environment for the decedent and forced him to work in violation of his doctor’s orders, thereby causing his injury and death. In response to the complaint, Rebecca moved for dismissal of the negligence and wantonness claims arguing they were barred by the exclusive remedy doctrine under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law. The plaintiff argued the defendant’s action of requesting the decedent to work a second shift in alleged violation of his doctor’s order amounted to willfulness and, therefore, the defendant employer was not shielded from liability. In response, Rebecca argued plaintiff’s allegations, even if accepted as true, did not amount to the degree of intentionality required to bring the claims within an exception to the workers’ compensation exclusivity provision. On June 30, 2020, the court heard oral arguments on the motion and decided in favor of our client holding that the tort claims were barred by Ala. Code  § 25-5-53.

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