Andrew Hall and Aaron Lindebak obtained a summary judgment dismissal for a factory supervisor sued for gross negligence. The case arose from a catastrophic industrial accident that occurred as a result of a malfunctioning machine. In Iowa, the sole remedy for employees injured in work related accidents is to bring a worker’s compensation claim against the employer. However, under Iowa Code section 85.20(2) an employee can sue a co-employee for an injury if the injury is “caused by the other employee’s gross negligence amounting to such lack of care as to amount to wanton neglect for the safety of another.” Iowa Code section 85.20. Plaintiff alleged the supervisor was grossly negligent because of his alleged knowledge of the malfunction and that he disregarded that danger by continuing to have Plaintiff use the machine. Hall and Lindebak argued that the supervisor had no knowledge of the malfunction, did not disregard the possible danger, and did not act with wanton neglect. The trial court found the supervisor did not have knowledge of the malfunction, did not disregard the possible danger, and did not act with wanton neglect. The Court agreed that there was no gross negligence and dismissed the claim supervisor.
Juanita Lavery et. al. v. Ren Testing Corp. et al., Story Co. Case No. LACV051620