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The location was Truman building located on the Capitol Complex in Jefferson City. Mr. Ratcliff was working as a communications operator for the Capitol Police. The service technician of Sprint Missouri,…
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RATCLIFF v. SPRINT MISSOURI, INC. due: Case Bob RATCLIFF (Appellant) v. SPRINT MISSOURI, INC. d/b/a Sprint United Telephone, (Respondent).
Location Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.
No. WD 64840
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to Supreme Court Denied May 27, 2008.
Application for Transfer Denied September 30, 2008.
Advocate for appellant John W. Roarke, St. Louis, MO
Advocate for respondent Paul L. Wickens, Kansas City, MO
Judge Breckenridge, P.J., Newton and Holliger, JJ.
Factual background
This case was triggered by an accident that took place on March 4, 1997. The location was Truman building located on the Capitol Complex in Jefferson City. Mr. Ratcliff was working as a communications operator for the Capitol Police. The service technician of Sprint Missouri, inc, Jerry Bondurant was inaugurating new telephone lines in the Capitol Police dispatch office, he had detached a subfloor panel, making an opening of 24 inches by 24 inches 5 ½ inches deep. Mr. Ratcliff stepped into the subfloor-opening, fell, and hurt his left ankle.
Allegations made by Mr. Ratcliff
• Sprint was careless as the sub-floor opening was not barricaded, and no warning sign was put to prevent him from accessing the area.
• Thus, because of the carelessness of Sprint, he sustained an injury in the left ankle, pain, nervousness, emotional distress, and anxiety of body and mind; which are disabling, progressive and permanent.
• He could not resume work or the daily activities that he could do, he needed a wheelchair for assistance.
Safety factors
According to OSHA standards, there must be regulations concerning the guarding of floor and wall holes that may harm any individual within the workplace. According to the guidelines, when a floor hole cover is not in place, then the hole ought to be protected by a removable standard barricade or someone must be allocated at the given spot, to warn other individuals (www.osha.gov). Despite this, Sprint did not consent to the negligence claim based on lack of OSHA standards. Moreover, an employee of Sprint completed an incident report the same day (May 28, 1997) the accident took place, but it was protected by the work product and attorney-client privileges.
Judgment
The verdict was Sprint was not at fault, and Mr. Ratcliff was completely at fault. This was in favor of Sprint. This was based on the fact the sufficiency of evidence claim was meritless as Mr. Ratcliff stepped into a hole that was visible and his claimed injury was caused before the incident and mental condition. According to the testimony of Mr. Bondurant, he was splicing wires with his feet in the opening when the incident took place. Moreover, multiple witnesses saw him working in the hole, and they knew where the hole was. Nevertheless, the trial court did not neglect its judgment in acknowledging evidence of workers compensation claim, as well as the exclusion of an incident report. In addition, the court’s exclusion of OSHA regulations was a not a detrimental mistake. Mr. Ratcliff announced his financial condition into the case when asked by his lawyer on direct examination concerning his failure to get medical attention, and he uttered that he could not “afford that option”; this is an exception to the general rule of inadmissibility of collateral source expenses. The defense was able to attack this allegation of financial strain by introducing evidence of his worker’s compensation claim settlement.
References
Guarding floor and wall openings and holes. (n.d.). www.osha.gov. Retrieved March 3, 2014,
from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9715
Ratcliff v. Sprint Missouri, Inc., 261 S.W.3d 534 (Mo. Ct. App. 2008)
West Group., West Publishing Company., & American Law Book Company. (2009).Corpus
juris secundum: A complete restatement of the entire American law as developed by all reported cases. St. Paul, Minn: Thomson/West. Read More
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