The Appellate Group

Kay v. Barnes Bullets

Kay v. Barnes Bullets, 2022 UT 3 (Durrant, J.)

Workers Compensation Act; Occupational Disability Act

Plaintiff contracted lead poisoning while working for Employer. He sued Employer under a narrow exception under the Worker’s Compensation Act (WCA) allowing for workers to sue over injuries caused by an employer’s intentional acts. Employer moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence that it acted intentionally, and the district court denied the motion. Employer filed a petition for permission to appeal an interlocutory order, and the Utah Supreme Court reversed, holding:

  • There is a question as to whether Plaintiff’s lead poisoning claim falls under the Occupational Disability Act (ODA), and if so, whether it qualifies for the intentional-injury exception. Utah cases have frequently recognized lead poising as an occupational disease under the ODA, and Utah has yet to extend the intentional-injury exception to occupational disease claims. But depending on the facts, lead poisoning might constitute an accidental injury that would fall under the WCA. On remand, the district court should determine whether lead poising is an accidental injury or an occupational disease and whether the intentional-injury exception applies.

Read the full court opinion