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Friday, January 02, 2015

Ind. Decisions - "Court: U.S. Steel not to blame for drowsy driver crash"

Dan Carden of the NWI Times reports today on the Court of Appeals decision Wed. in the case of Rodriguez v. U.S. Steel (ILB summary here, 2nd case). Some quotes:

Judge Edward Najam Jr., writing for the appellate panel, rejected Rodriguez's claim that U.S. Steel overworked Faught in such a way that the company should be viewed similar to a bar knowingly sending a drunk driver out on the roads.

"Working hours do not necessarily affect a person in the same way that alcohol does. While significant consumption of alcohol, in itself, inevitably leads to impairment, many factors other than long working hours may contribute to fatigue," Najam said. "We cannot say that U.S. Steel either knew or should have known that Faught was fatigued such that he could endanger third-party motorists."

While the court agreed with Rodriguez that such an accident potentially is foreseeable, it found public policy considerations "strongly" weigh against requiring employers check each of their employees for fatigue at the end of the workday.

"It is not clear how an employer could monitor employee fatigue, much less how an employer could determine whether such fatigue was job-related or, for that matter, whether the fatigue is sufficient to intervene and attempt to prevent the employee from leaving the employer’s premises, even if the employer had the authority to do so," Najam said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 2, 2015 10:10 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions