Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Groce v. Vanmeter Contracting, Inc.

Supreme Court of Kentucky

February 15, 2018

JAMIE GROCE APPELLANT
v.
VANMETER CONTRACTING, INC.; HONORABLE DOUGLAS W. GOTT, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE; AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD APPELLEES

         ON APPEAL FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2016-CA-000776 NO. 12-WC-67588

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Scott Feerguson Scheynost Scheynost Law Offices, P.S.C.

          COUNSEL FORAPPELLEE VANMETER CONTRACTING, INC.: Douglas Anthony U'Sellis U'Sellis Mayer & Associates

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE HONORABLE DOUGLAS W. GOTT: Douglas Wayne Gott Kentucky Dept. of Workers' Claims

          COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD: Dwight Taylor Lovan Office of Workers' Claims

          OPINION

          VENTERS JUSTICE.

         Jamie Groce, an employee of VanMeter Contracting, Inc. (VanMeter), suffered a disabling injury in a workplace accident. Groce alleged that the accident was due, in part, to VanMeter's violations of workplace safety regulations, which if true, would entitle her to a 30% increase in benefits pursuant to KRS 342.165(1). The ALJ rejected her claim for enhanced benefits, but the Workers' Compensation Board (Board) reversed the ALJ. The Court of Appeals reversed the Board's decision and reinstated the judgment of the ALJ. Groce now appeals and, upon review, we affirm the Court of Appeals.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Groce and two other employees of VanMeter were injured during the construction of a large concrete retaining wall when the forms holding the wet concrete collapsed. Another employee was killed. Groce suffered critical injuries which required extensive hospitalization, multiple surgeries, and long-term rehabilitation treatment.

         The Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Administration (KOSHA) investigated the accident and provided the following description:

Four (4) employees were engaged in pouring concrete into a retaining wall form. The employees were working from a Form Scaffold, twenty-four (24) inches wide by twenty-four (24) foot long mounted to a Plate Girder Forming System retaining wall form 12.5 feet above the ground below. The retaining wall form was eight (8) foot wide at the base narrowing to one (1) foot wide at the top, 12.5-foot-tall and twenty-four (24) foot in length. The employees were pouring concrete into the form using a bucket and crane system and a vibrator machine to settle the concrete. The form was over 95% filled with approximately fifty-four (54) yards of concrete. As the employees were topping off the fill, they heard a loud pop and the entire form raised and toppled to the east toward the crane. Three (3) employees were thrown toward the crane and one (1) employee fell backwards into the concrete surging out from under the toppled form.

         As a result of its investigation, KOSHA issued three citations against VanMeter but only one is relevant to our review. [1] Citation 01 Item 003 charged VanMeter with violating 29 CFR 1926.703(a)(1), titled "General requirements for formwork, " which states:

Formwork shall be designed, fabricated, erected, supported, braced and maintained so that it will be capable of supporting without failure all vertical and lateral loads that may reasonably be anticipated to be applied to the formwork. Formwork which is designed, fabricated, erected, supported, braced and maintained in conformance with the appendix to this section will be deemed to meet the requirements of this paragraph.

         Specifically, KOSHA alleged that VanMeter violated the regulation by constructing the concrete wall with forms unsupported by a telescoping push-pull pipe brace, and that the anchor bolts holding the forms were spaced too far apart and at irregular intervals. In due course, VanMeter and KOSHA resolved the citation with a Stipulation and Settlement Agreement in which VanMeter "accepted responsibility" for all three citations, agreed that all of the violations were serious, and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.