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Mandolidis v. Elkins Industries, Inc.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
246 S.E.2d 907 (W.Va. 1978)


Facts

James Mandolidis (plaintiff) was employed as a machine operator for Elkins Industries, Inc. (Elkins) (defendant), a furniture manufacturer. Mandolidis was injured while operating a 10-inch table saw, resulting in the loss of two of his fingers and part of his hand. Mandolidis sued Elkins in the Circuit Court of Randolph County. Mandolidis alleged that Elkins had acted with the deliberate intention to kill or injure Mandolidis within the meaning of West Virginia’s Workmen’s Compensation Act (Act), and therefore was not immune from common-law actions. Specifically, Mandolidis alleged that Elkins had failed to secure the table saw with a safety guard in violation of industry standards and state and federal laws. According to Mandolidis, although federal inspectors had forbidden the use of the table saw without a safety guard, Elkins had continued to use the saw without a guard in order to improve production speed and increase profits. Mandolidis further alleged that Elkins had threatened to discharge Mandolidis if he refused to use the saw. Elkins denied the allegations and claimed that the foreman had told Mandolidis not to operate the saw by himself. Mandolidis denied this claim. Elkins moved to dismiss the complaint. The trial court converted the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. Finding no genuine issue of material fact, the trial court ruled that Elkins lacked a deliberate intent to injure Mandolidis, and dismissed the complaint. Mandolidis appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McGraw, J.)

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