Knife River granted summary judgment in injury claim

By David Yates | May 30, 2011

Knife River Corp. was recently granted summary judgment in a suit filed by plaintiff Vancie Thomas, who sued the company after bumping his head on the roof of a truck.

Thomas filed suit against Knife River in October 2009 in Jefferson County District Court.

As previously reported, on July 26 Knife River filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting Thomas "has no evidence which supports that he visited the company's premises on the date when he alleges the incident occurred."

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, granted the motion on Jan. 21, according to the court's order, filed Jan. 25.

Thomas had died since the filing of his lawsuit, court papers show.

Plaintiff's attorney Tom Oxford, of Waldman & Smallwood, had asked the court to abate Knife River's motion for six months "to see if any living relative comes forward" to carry on the action.

However, no relative was added to the suit.

Court records show Thomas, an Axerum Trucking employee, was picking up a load of sand from Knife River on Dec. 12, 2008.

Allegedly, a Knife River employee "improperly dumped a load" in the truck, causing it to lift up into the air and slam back into the ground, court papers say.

"Plaintiff claims he hit his head on the roof of the truck's cab as a result of Knife River's negligence," the company's motion states. "However ... there is no evidence that he was at the Knife River location at the time of the accident."

In its motion, Knife River further argued that there are no documents, reports or witnesses to corroborate Thomas' story.

Knife River was represented by Thomas Fee, attorney for the Dallas law firm of Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo.

Case No. E185-089

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