News 05.03.17

Chicago Shareholder Jill M. Felkins and Chicago Associate Joi Kamper Prevail on Motion for Summary Judgment in Asbestos Exposure Case

Segal McCambridge Shareholder Jill M. Felkins and Associate Joi Kamper successfully prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Sachs Electric (“Defendant”), an electrical contractor, in an asbestos exposure case. Plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while working as an electrician for Sachs Electric Company at various locations primarily located in Missouri. Plaintiff’s suit alleged that exposure to asbestos from several different products, while he was working for several different employers at various locations, caused him to develop mesothelioma. Plaintiff only encountered Sachs Electric as an employee. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on the applicable workers’ compensation statutes.

In advancing its Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant argued that Plaintiff’s alleged claims against Sachs Electric arose out of Plaintiff’s employment and therefore were barred by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statute or, in the alternative, by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Statute and the Illinois Occupational Diseases Act. Plaintiff failed to show that he was exposed to asbestos from Sachs Electric outside the course and scope of his employment. The Court therefore considered Sachs Electric as Plaintiff’s statutory employer and found that the exclusivity provision of Missouri’s Workers' Compensation Statute, MO. REV. STAT. §287.120. 2, were applicable. Under  MO. REV. STAT. §287.120. 2,  Plaintiff’s common law claims from his alleged exposure to asbestos while an employee of Sachs Electric were barred.

As part of Defendant's argument that Missouri's Workers’ Compensation Act was Plaintiff’s exclusive remedy, Defendant also produced a Certificate of Liability Insurance for additional Mesothelioma Benefits Endorsement in order to show that Sachs Electric maintained the required workers’ compensation insurance coverage in compliance with the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statute. Defendant’s arguments prevailed. In granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court found that Plaintiff’s claims fell within the scope of workers’ compensation claims as defined by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statute; Plaintiff’s exclusive remedy was controlled by that statute.