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Wood v. Copeland

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

October 1, 2014

ANGELA MARIE WOOD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JEFFREY EUGENE COPELAND, Defendant-Respondent

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CEDAR COUNTY. Honorable James R. Bickel, Circuit Judge.

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

For Appellant: RICHARD T. STRODTMAN, Joplin, MO.

For Respondent: PATRICIA A. KECK, Springfield, MO.

MARY W. SHEFFIELD, P.J. - OPINION AUTHOR. NANCY STEFFEN RAHMEYER, J. - CONCURS. DON E. BURRELL, J. - CONCURS.

OPINION

MARY W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.

Page 476

Angela Marie Wood (" Plaintiff" ) sued her co-employee Jeffrey Eugene Copeland (" Defendant" ) for negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, and Plaintiff appeals, raising two points. Finding Plaintiff's first point has merit, we reverse the trial court's judgment.

Factual and Procedural Background

As this case involves review of the trial court's grant of a motion for summary judgment, this Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was entered, in this case, Plaintiff. See ITT Commercial Finance Corp. v. Mid-America Marine Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). On November 26, 2011, Plaintiff was seriously injured at work when she fell from a forklift operated by Defendant.

On July 26, 2012, Plaintiff sued Defendant seeking damages based on Defendant's negligence in operating the forklift. On September 16, 2013, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing there were no facts showing Defendant owed Plaintiff an independent duty apart from the employer's non-delegable duty to provide a safe workplace. The trial court granted the motion, and Plaintiff appeals.

Standard of Review

The standard of review for an appellate court reviewing the grant of a motion for summary judgment is de novo. Jordan v. Peet, 409 S.W.3d 553, 557 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013). " The criteria on appeal for testing the propriety of summary judgment are no different from those which should be employed by the trial court to determine the propriety of sustaining the motion initially." ITT, 854 S.W.2d at 376. This Court " will review the record in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was entered." Id. Additionally, the Court must " accord the non-movant the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the ...


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