In August of 2011, two teen employees of Oklahoma's Zaloudek Grain CO. suffered horrific injuries when they fell into the floor auger of the grain elevator and each lost a leg. Their parents filed lawsuits against the company and its shareholders, which alleges five counts of negligence.
The grain company planned to defend in the lawsuit by claiming that the teens' injuries were caused by their own negligence, as well as the negligence of others. The families of the two boys, Tyler Zander and Bryce Gannon, then filed a motion asking the court to block the company's use of this defense. In a hearing that lasted approximately four minutes, the court sustained he motion.
According to the court, "The plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment is sustained . . . The defendant may not plead or prove as a defense that the injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow servant, or that the employee assumed the risk of his employment, or that the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee. As a matter of law, defendants are not entitled to rely on such affirmative defenses."
The parties were also informed that the case would require mediation, and asked that it be scheduled in May.
So, why is this in the news?
Zaloudek Grain also is waging its own lawsuit against workers' compensation provider CompSource Oklahoma, which refused to cover the teens' injuries because it had canceled Zaloudek Grain's policy months earlier for failing to provide information needed for audit.