Hawkeye Construction Co. v. Little ex rel. Little

151 S.W.3d 360 (2004)

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Hawkeye Construction Co. v. Little ex rel. Little

Kentucky Court of Appeals
151 S.W.3d 360 (2004)

Facts

Quentin Little (plaintiff) was employed by Hawkeye Construction Company (Hawkeye) (defendant). In 2002, during his employment, Little was operating a truck that rolled off the road down a hill, causing Little’s death. At the time of the accident, Hawkeye was aware of the condition of the road’s berm and the berm’s low height. According to Hawkeye, an excavator was working on repairing the berm but had not yet reached the area where the accident occurred. Despite being aware of the inadequate berm, Hawkeye continued to allow trucks to operate on the road. After the accident, Jayna Little (plaintiff), Little’s wife, filed for workers’-compensation benefits on behalf of their daughter, Kristen Little (plaintiff). The ALJ found no evidence of mechanical problems with Little’s truck, that the height of the truck prevented Litle from seeing the edge of the road, and that Hawkeye continued to operate trucks knowing the berm was inadequate. The ALJ awarded enhanced benefits to Little, imposing a 30 percent penalty against Hawkeye, finding that Hawkeye had violated safety regulations by failing to maintain an adequate berm on the edge of an elevated road. Hawkeye filed a petition for review with the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Board (the board). The board affirmed the ALJ’s decision and found there was sufficient evidence to show that Hawkeye knew the berm was inadequate but continued to operate trucks on the road. Thus, the board found Hawkeye’s failure to comply with safety regulations was intentional. Hawkeye appealed, arguing that the ALJ’s decision regarding its intent was not supported by substantial evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Combs, C.J.)

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