Case name: Brown v. Checker's Drive-in Restaurants, Inc. d/b/a Rally's Hamburgers, Inc., No. 09-CA-1032 (La. Ct. App. 06/29/10).
Ruling: The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that an employee's suit was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of Louisiana statutes. The supervisor's action that led to the employee's injury was not an intentional act.
What it means: When one is not substantially certain that an injury will follow from her actions and does not desire the resulting injury, the acts do not rise to an intentional act creating liability. Workers' compensation provides the exclusive remedy.
Summary: A fast-food restaurant employee was working the drive-through window. Her manager placed a can of oven cleaner on a shelf above the deep fryer. Another employee accidentally knocked the can into the deep dryer and it exploded, burning the employee. The employee received workers' compensation benefits and sued the restaurant, alleging that she was burned due to the intentional acts of her supervisor. The Louisiana Court of Appeal held that the employee's suit was barred under the exclusive remedy provision of the workers' compensation statutes.
Louisiana law allows an injured employee to sue if she was injured by an intentional act. The court stated that the supervisor's actions did not amount to an "intentional act" because the supervisor didn't know that the fryer could explode and that placing the can on the shelf would cause the employee to get burned. The evidence did not show that the supervisor consciously desired the result of her act. The court stated that the "acts may have been negligent, but they did not rise to the level of intentional."
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September 20, 2010
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