Texas employer not liable after worker beat up supervisor

Today’s post was shared by Workers Compensation and comes from www.businessinsurance.com

Worker Attacking Supervisor

A Texas appeals court has ruled that a workers compensation nonsubscriber is not liable for negligence, despite failing to perform a criminal background check on a worker who assaulted another employee.

Ramiro Najera worked at American Rice Inc. in Freeport, Texas, through staffing company Recana Solutions L.L.C., court records show. Mr. Najera and his team were responsible for fumigating packaged rice and picking up garbage and dead pests, among other things,

Recana also placed James Prodoehl, who reported to Mr. Najera, at American Rice, records show.

In June 2012, after the two men had worked together for about three months, Mr. Najera told his team that they would have to work late one day, according to records. Some of the team got upset, and Mr. Prodoehl said he wouldn’t stay to work.

In response, Mr. Najera said he would tell the team’s leader, records show. Mr. Prodoehl then began hitting Mr. Najera with a hard hat.

According to records, Recana immediately terminated Mr. Prodoehl for fighting. As a Texas nonsubscriber, the company did not carry workers comp insurance at the time of the incident.

Mr. Najera, who sustained injuries to his teeth and shoulder, filed suit against Recana and American Rice. He alleged negligence, gross negligence and respondeat superior, which states that an employer is responsible for its employees’ actions in the course of employment.

He and American Rice settled, filing an agreed motion to dismiss American Rice with prejudice, records show.

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