The Missouri Supreme Court found in favor of arguments presented by attorneys Terry Evans and Miles Figg from the law firm of Andereck, Evans, Lewis, Figg & Battagler. The Opinion issued by the Supreme Court, in Conner v. Ogletree, clarifies under what circumstances and to what extent an injured employee may bring a claim against their co-employee.
Under Missouri law, an employee could be liable to their fellow co-employee(s) for workplace injuries occurring between 2005 and 2012 only when the co-employee breached a duty that was separate and distinct from the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a safe workplace. And in Conner v. Ogletree, the Supreme Court clarified its previous decisions in Parr v. Breedenand Peters v. Wady Indus., Inc. holding that a duty separate and distinct from the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a safe workplace includes instances where there is either (1) the breach of a duty unrelated to employment or (2) a workplace injury was caused by risks that were unforeseeable to the employer.
In Conner v. Ogletree, Mr. Michael Conner cut a live power line after being told by his supervisor that the line was deenergized, although the line had not actually been deenergized or checked properly to ensure it was safe. The resulting shock threw Mr. Conner off an elevated platform rendering him a quadriplegic. Mr. Conner sued his supervisor and another co-employee under a theory of co-employee liability, alleging they were negligent in carrying out their work. The attorneys at Andereck Evans successfully argued that Mr. Conner did not allege a breach of a duty separate and distinct from the employer’s nondelegable duties. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the co-employees and, ultimately, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that summary judgment was proper in that Mr. Conner, the injured worker, did not allege a breach of workplace safety so unforeseeable as to take it outside the employers’ nondelegable duty to provide a reasonably safe workplace.
Co-employee liability law is nuanced and the nature and extent of liability between co-employees will remain subject to future litigation, especially in light of the 2012 amendments to the applicable workers’ compensation statutes which is effectively a codification of the “something more” doctrine. The attorneys at Andereck Evans are well-versed and have extensive experience litigating co-employee liability cases under Missouri law.
 Conner v. Ogletree, SC 95995, 2018 WL 1163870 (Mo. Mar. 6, 2018).
 Parr v. Breeden, 489 S.W.3d 774 (Mo. banc 2016).
 Peters v. Wady Indus., Inc., 489 S.W.3d 784 (Mo. banc 2016).