Alexander v. Bozeman Motors, Inc.

234 P.3d 880, 356 Mont. 439 (2010)

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Alexander v. Bozeman Motors, Inc.

Montana Supreme Court
234 P.3d 880, 356 Mont. 439 (2010)

Facts

Burt Ostermiller (plaintiff) started employment with Bozeman Motors, Inc. (Bozeman) (defendant) in August 2003. Michael Alexander (plaintiff) started in November 2003. Bozeman had a gas stove installed in the office. Ostermiller claimed the propane leaked from the stove and caused carbon monoxide to build up. Ostermiller became sick and complained about it to Bozeman, but Bozeman did not take corrective action. In November 2003, Ostermiller lost consciousness in the office and did not return to work. Although Bozeman knew of the propane leak, Alexander was still sent to work in the office. Alexander became sick and complained of his symptoms, but nothing was done. Alexander was so ill that he was unable to return to work. Alexander had the office inspected by Greg Brainerd, who advised Bozeman of the leaking stove. In February 2006, Alexander and Ostermiller filed a suit against Bozeman for negligent and intentional torts. Alexander died later that month. Helen and Nicole Alexander, Alexander’s mother and sister (plaintiffs), joined the suit. In March 2007, Bozeman moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Bozeman, David Wallin, Bob Snedeker, and Roger Beverage (collectively, Bozeman Motors) (defendants). The district court found that Helen and Nicole failed to show Bozeman Motors deliberately intended to cause harm and, therefore, the exclusivity rule prohibited the plaintiffs from moving forward in their tort action. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cotter, J.)

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