Appeals court upholds jury decision in support of Baker Hughes

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s ruling in support of Baker Hughes Inc. over the 2012 death of an employee at a warehouse in Casper, Wyoming.

The Appeals court ruled the lower court judge was correct in decisions in the lawsuit brought by Katherine Morgan whose husband David Morgan was crushed to death by a heavy chemical tote while operating a forklift. She had sued for negligence liability of Baker Hughes and two trials were eventually held in the case.

The Appeals court had previously reversed the lower court’s decision to grant a dismissal in support of Baker Hughes, stating that the widow had presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that Baker Hughes was liable.

Following a second Baker Hughes asked for judgment as a matter of law but the district court denied the motion and the jury returned a verdict in support of the company.

However, before submitting the case to the jury, the court rejected Morgan’s proposed jury instructions and overruled her objections to the court’s instructions. Morgan timely appealed these decisions and moved to certify the controlling question to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

The Tenth Circuit concluded that Wyoming law on this issue was consistent with the Restatement (Second) of Torts section 414 and its commentary. Accordingly, the Court held that the district court correctly instructed the jury with respect to the relevant legal standard and did not err in making various decisions Morgan challenges on appeal.


Source: Appeals Court