Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri The Honorable
Janet Lodwick Sutton, Judge
James Edward Welsh, P.J., Thomas H. Newton, and Gary D. Witt,
EDWARD WELSH, PRESIDING JUDGE
Helen Kayden ("Kayden") appeals from the Judgment
of the Circuit Court of Clay County granting summary judgment
in favor of Defendant/Respondent Ford Motor Company
("Ford") on Kayden's petition. The circuit
court found that Kayden was a "statutory employee"
of Ford when she was injured and her exclusive remedy against
Ford is the Missouri's Workers' Compensation Act. The
circuit court accordingly granted summary judgment in favor
of Ford finding that the court lacked the statutory authority
to proceed. Kayden now appeals. We affirm.
action against Ford arises out of an injury she sustained on
March 22, 2010, when she slipped and fell on the parking lot
of Ford's assembly plant in Claycomo, Missouri. Kayden
was employed by U.S. Security Associates, Inc. as a private
security guard and had worked in this capacity from 2007 to
February of 2011. Kayden's employer entered into a
contract with Allied Automotive Group, which had contracted
with Ford to provide security services for Ford. Kayden's
job responsibilities for Ford included monitoring the
Claycomo assembly plant parking lot to ensure the security of
recently assembled vehicles and to stop unauthorized vehicles
from entering the parking lot. Kayden would also check and
verify the paperwork of drivers leaving the parking lot.
Kayden worked approximately thirty hours per week in this
alleged in her petition that she was injured when she slipped
and fell while at work providing security services for Ford.
She alleged that Ford, through its agents, used too much
patching material to fill a large pothole in the parking lot
where she worked and failed to remove the excess patching
material. Kayden claims that this excess patching material
combined with rain and snow, to create a slippery mud-like
substance a few inches deep. Kayden alleged that Ford's
employees or agents created this dangerous condition and
failed to warn her of the dangerous condition. According to
Kayden, Ford's direct negligence caused her to slip and
fall and sustain her injuries. As an affirmative defense to
Kayden's claims, Ford asserted that Kayden was a
statutory employee of Ford under the Missouri Workers'
filed its Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that Kayden, as
Ford's statutory employee, had as her exclusive remedy
the Missouri's Workers' Compensation Act. The circuit
court agreed, finding that "[a]s a result of
[Kayden's] status as a statutory employee of Ford Motor
Company, her exclusive remedy against defendant Ford Motor
Company is provided by Missouri's Workers'
Compensation Statute and this Court lacks the statutory
authority to proceed." Kayden now appeals.
When considering an appeal from a summary judgment, we review
the record in the light most favorable to the party against
whom judgment was entered, and we afford that party the
benefit of all reasonable inferences. ITT Commercial Fin.
Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371,
376 (Mo. banc 1993). Because the circuit court's judgment
is based on the record submitted and the law, we need not
defer to the circuit court's order granting summary
judgment. Id. Rather, because "[t]he propriety
of summary judgment is purely an issue of law, " we
review the grant of a summary judgment de novo.
Id. "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."
Id. Thus, we will affirm the grant of a summary
judgment where there are no genuine issues of material fact
and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Id. at 377, 380.
Reverse Mortg. Sols., Inc. v. Estate of Hunter, 479
S.W.3d 662, 665-66 (Mo. App. 2015).
sole point on appeal, Kayden argues that the circuit court
erred in granting Ford's Motion for Summary Judgment
based upon the affirmative defense that Ford was Kayden's
statutory employer and so was protected from civil liability
by the Missouri Workers' Compensation Act because a
direct negligence claim by an employee of an independent
contractor against a statutory employer is not barred by the
Missouri Workers' Compensation Act and, as Kayden's
action was premised upon Ford's direct negligent act of
creating a dangerous condition on its premises where Kayden
worked, Ford was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter
basis of the circuit court's finding of summary judgment
in favor of Ford was that Kayden was a statutory employee of
Ford when she was injured and her exclusive remedy is the
Missouri Workers' Compensation Act (the "Act").
At the time of Kayden's injury in 2010, the ...