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Douglas v. St. Louis Cold Drawn, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

June 30, 2014

WALTER DOUGLAS, Appellant,
v.
ST. LOUIS COLD DRAWN, INC., Respondent

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Honorable Maura B. McShane.

Zane T. Cagle, St. Louis, MO, for appellant

Thomas J. Magee, St. Louis, MO, for respondent.

Patricia L. Cohen, Judge. Lisa S. Van Amburg, P.J., and Philip M. Hess, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 776

Patricia L. Cohen, Judge.

Introduction

Walter Douglas (Plaintiff) appeals the trial court's judgment in favor of St. Louis Cold Drawn, Inc. (Defendant) on his action in negligence. Plaintiff claims the trial court erred in submitting to the jury Defendant's

Page 777

improper affirmative converse instruction. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background[1]

Plaintiff, a truck driver, worked as an independent contractor for Tennessee Steel Haulers. On August 31, 2010, Plaintiff drove his tractor trailer to Defendant's premises where he worked with Defendant's employee, Mark Kelle, to load bundles of steel onto Plaintiff's trailer. Mr. Kelle was operating an overhead crane and Plaintiff was standing near the back of his trailer, when the wire, which connected the spreader bar[2] to the crane, broke and the spreader bar fell.

After the incident, Plaintiff assured Defendant's employees that he was " fine" and did not require an ambulance. Plaintiff did not inform anyone that he had been struck by the spreader bar. After Defendant's employees finished loading Plaintiff's trailer, Plaintiff drove to Villa Ridge, Missouri, where he stopped for a shower and noticed increasing pain and tightness in his neck and right shoulder. Plaintiff decided to visit the emergency room at Phelps County Memorial Hospital, where doctors noted an " abrasion" on Plaintiff's right shoulder, ordered an x-ray and CT scan, and prescribed a neck collar and pain medication. The next day, Plaintiff drove his tractor trailer to Fredericksburg, Texas.

Plaintiff filed an action against Defendant alleging negligence and res ipsa loquitur and seeking damages for his injuries. In the petition, Plaintiff alleged that, as Mr. Kelle was operating the crane, " the cable and/or wire to the spreader bar which was attached to the overhead crane broke causing the bottom assembly and/or spread[er] bar to fall approximately fifteen (15) to twenty (20) feet onto Plaintiff's shoulder" and " Defendant was negligent and careless and breached its duty of care to the general public and Plaintiff and is liable for the damages resulting from Plaintiff being struck by the falling bottom assembly and/or spread[er] bar . . . ." Plaintiff ...


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