FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE MARY SHAW, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 15-CI-003525
FOR APPELLANT: Paul D. Hudson Kalamazoo, Michigan R. Thad
Keal Prospect, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEE: Joseph D. Satterly Louisville, Kentucky
BEFORE: COMBS, DIXON AND GOODWINE, JUDGES.
Appellant, Ford Motor Company, appeals from an order of the
Jefferson Circuit Court denying its motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate and
an asbestos case. The decedent, Steven Ray Sheets, worked as
a millwright for approximately forty years. In July 2015, he
was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. On July 17, 2015,
Mr. Sheets filed a Complaint in the Jefferson Circuit Court
against Ford and multiple other defendants alleging that he
had contracted mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to
asbestos. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Sheets had worked at
Ford while he was employed by Rapid Industries, which was an
independent contractor of Ford. Sadly, Mr. Sheets died on
July 26, 2015, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The
Appellee, Clara Susan Sheets, Executrix of the Estate of
Steven Ray Sheets, revived his lawsuit and was substituted as
August 4, 2017, Ford filed a motion for summary judgment.
Ford contended that "neither the record evidence nor
Kentucky law supports Plaintiff's claims . . . . Summary
judgment is appropriate at this stage for three separate
reasons, each of which is independently fatal to
Plaintiff's claims against Ford." Ford argued that
it was immune from tort liability as an
"up-the-ladder" or statutory employer under
342.610(2)(b) of the Kentucky Workers' Compensation Act
(Act), citing General Electric v. Cain, 236 S.W.3d
579 (Ky. 2007). Ford also argued that it had no duty to
warn independent contractors pursuant to Brewster v.
Colgate Palmolive Co., 279 S.W.3d 142 (Ky. 2009). Ford
also argued that there was a lack of causation because
Plaintiff's evidence -- even when viewed in a light most
favorable to her -- could not meet the standard set forth in
Bailey. v. N. Am. Refractories Co., 95 S.W.3d 868
(Ky. App. 2001).
September 5, 2017, Sheets filed a response.
November 30, 2017, the trial court entered a one-sentence,
handwritten order, which provided as follows in its entirety:
"Motion for Summary judgment filed by Δ Ford Motor
Company is Denied."
December 29, 2017, Ford filed a notice of appeal to this
Court from the trial court's "November 30, 2017,
Order denying Ford's motion for summary judgment based on
'up-the-ladder' immunity under the Kentucky
Workers' Compensation Act, KRS 342.690. This appeal is by
matter of right under Ervin Cable Constr., LLC v.
Lay, 461 S.W.3d 422 (Ky. App. 2015)."
January 1, 2018, Sheets filed a motion for transfer of the
appeal to the Supreme Court. By order entered March 22, 2018,
the Supreme Court summarily denied the motion.
16, 2018, Sheets filed a motion to dismiss Ford's appeal
and argued, inter alia, that an order denying a
motion for summary judgment is interlocutory and not
appealable and that "Ford's interlocutory appeal is