United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
DAVID E. MADRY, Plaintiff,
GEORGE KOCH SONS, LLC, BRANDON LORENZ, and TYSON MUELLER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Court's own motion.
Also pending are Plaintiffs Motion to Remand the cause of
action to the Circuit Court of St. Francois County, Missouri
(ECF No. 8) and Defendants Brandon Lorenz and Tyson
Mueller's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Petition (ECF No.
10). Upon review of the motions, the Court notes the case
upon which Plaintiff relies in support of his motion to
remand, Brock v. Dunne, No. ED105739, 2018 WL
4309412 (Mo.Ct.App. Sept. 11, 2018), has been transferred to
and argued before the Supreme Court of Missouri in case
number SC97542. As will be further developed below, the Court
finds the Supreme Court of Missouri's determination in
Brock could likely be dispositive in the motions now
before this Court. Therefore, the Court will stay this action
until the Supreme Court of Missouri renders its decision.
present case stems from workplace injuries Plaintiff
allegedly sustained while performing maintenance on an
overhead crane at a plant for his employer, SRG Global.
(Compl. ¶¶ 6, 13, ECF No. 3) Plaintiff sued the
crane manufacturer, George Koch Sons, LLC, and two
co-employees, maintenance supervisor Brandon Lorenz
("Lorenz") and plant manager Tyson Mueller
("Mueller"). (Id. at ¶¶ 2-4, 8)
Plaintiff alleges Lorenz and Mueller implemented a policy
change requiring employees to turn off the crane power at the
crane itself rather than the main panel. (Id. at
¶¶ 20, 23) Plaintiff asserts he attempted to turn
off the power per the amended policy, but the power remained
on, causing the crane to move and knock Plaintiff off a
ladder. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13) Plaintiff claims
the policy increased the risk of injury to the crane's
users. (Id. at ¶¶ 21, 24)
Plaintiffs initial motion to remand, he relies on Brock
v. Dunne for the proposition that Lorenz and
Mueller's directions were "affirmative negligent
acts that created an additional danger that would not have
been otherwise present in the workplace." (PL's Mot.
to Remand ¶ 13, ECF No. 8) In both Defendant George Koch
Sons, LLC's opposition to Plaintiffs motion to remand and
Defendants Brandon Lorenz and Tyson Mueller's Motion to
Dismiss, the Defendants claim Lorenz and Mueller are entitled
to co-employee immunity under Missouri workers'
compensation law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 287.120.1.
Brock addresses the 2012 amendment to Mo. Rev. Stat.
§ 287.120.1, which states:
Any employee of such employer shall not be liable for any
injury or death for which compensation is recoverable under
this chapter and every employer and employees of such
employer shall be released from all other liability
whatsoever, whether to the employee or any other person,
except that an employee shall not be released from liability
for injury or death if the employee engaged in an affirmative
negligent act that purposefully and dangerously caused or
increased the risk of injury.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 287.120.1 (2012). This Court previously
found that the Missouri Court of Appeals opinion in
Brock has no precedential effect in co-employee
liability cases after the Supreme Court of Missouri granted
transfer but also acknowledged Missouri case law is still
developing as to what constitutes "an affirmative
act" under the 2012 amendment. See Hawkins
v. St. Louis Rams, LLC, No. 4:18CV382 RLW, 2019 WL
367644, at *5 n.9 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 30, 2019). Here, however,
the Court notes similarities exist between the present case
and Brock. Furthermore, the Defendants rely in part
on the transfer of Brock to the Supreme Court of
Missouri as support for denying Plaintiffs' motion to
remand and granting dismissal of Defendants Lorenz and
carefully considering and weighing the competing interests in
this case, the Court concludes the case should be stayed. A
Supreme Court of Missouri determination in Brock as
to whether the actions taken by the supervisor do or do not
fall within the exception to co-employee immunity may be
dispositive to both Plaintiffs pending motion to remand and
Defendants' pending motion to dismiss. The Court further
finds the parties will not be prejudiced by a stay. This case
is still in its early stages. The parties have conducted no
discovery; and other than the instant motions, no substantive
issues have been or are scheduled to be litigated. Thus,
staying the case now would not significantly disrupt the
litigation process. See Asarco LLC v. NL Indus.,
Inc., No. 4:ll-CV-00864-JAR, 2013 WL 943614, at *3 (E.D.
Mo. Mar. 11, 2013) ("In considering a motion for stay, a
court should consider both the interest of judicial economy
and the potential prejudice or hardship to the
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is
STAYED until such time as the Supreme Court of Missouri
issues a decision in Danny Brock, v. Peter Dunne,
No. SC97542 ("5roc£").
IS FURTHER ORDERED that, in light of the stay, all
pending motions are DENIED without prejudice
subject to refiling, as appropriate, upon lifting of the
IS FURTHER ORDERED that, within seven (7) days
following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Missouri in
Brock, the parties shall file an appropriate motion
as to lifting the stay.
IS FINALLY ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall
administratively close this case for statistical purposes
only, subject to reopening upon lifting of ...