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September 18, 2019

Philadelphia Partner Secures Summary Judgment

Nationally acclaimed trial lawyer, WSHB Partner Andrew Kessler, secured summary judgment in a matter pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in favor of our clients, a temporary staffing agency and one of the temporary employees that it placed with a third party company. Plaintiff, a 64 year-old married woman, slipped and fell entering a bathroom which had been recently mopped but for which no wet floor sign had been placed by the temporary employee. As a result of this slip and fall, Plaintiff sustained a fractured hip and significant injuries to her right shoulder and lower back. Plaintiff who was working at the third party company at the time of the incident had a workers’ compensation lien in excess of $350,000 and was claiming permanent injuries which had significantly affected her activities of daily living.

Plaintiff alleged that the temp agency was negligent in placing the temporary employee into a position for which he was not qualified and that the temporary employee was negligent for failing to ensure that a wet floor sign had been placed near the entrance to the bathroom. Mr. Kessler secured summary judgment by asserting that (1) the application of the Borrowed Servant Doctrine compelled a finding that the third party company should be considered the temporary employee’s “employer”—not the temp agency. Since the third party company exclusively directed and controlled the conduct of the temporary employee—both with regard to the tasks to be done and the manner of performing them, the temp agency could not be held liable as a matter of law when it did not retain any right of control over the same; and (2) the temporary employee himself was immune from individual liability through the exclusivity provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act which provides that a co-employee is immune from liability for any work-related injury of a fellow employee.

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