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Williams v. Mattress Direct, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 27, 2013

Warren WILLIAMS, Appellant
v.
MATTRESS DIRECT, INC. and Kenton A. Williams, Appellees.

Page 440

Gerald Maples, attorney for appellant.

Jeffrey Stephen Moffett, Ridgeland, Jeremy Thomas England, Gulfport, attorneys for appellees.

Before IRVING, P.J., BARNES and MAXWELL, JJ.

IRVING, P.J.

¶ 1. On May 3, 2010, Warren Williams filed a complaint in the Hancock County Circuit Court against his coworker Kenton A. Williams and their employer Mattress Direct Inc.,[1] alleging negligence as a result of a vehicular accident involving Warren and Kenton while they were returning from a delivery assignment. Kenton and Mattress Direct filed a motion for summary judgment, which the circuit court granted. Feeling aggrieved, Warren appeals and claims that the court erred in holding that he and Kenton were both in the course and scope of their employment with Mattress Direct at the time of the accident and that Warren's exclusive remedy is under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act.

¶ 2. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶ 3. On July 16, 2008, Warren and Kenton, both of Louisiana, were instructed bye Mattress Direct to deliver a mattress to a customer in Hancock County, Mississippi. They traveled to Hancock County in a

Page 441

Mattress Direct delivery truck, and Kenton was the driver. After completing the delivery, Warren and Kenton headed back to Louisiana on Interstate 10. While still in Hancock County, Warren and Kenton were involved in a single-vehicle accident in which Warren sustained injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital. Warren's patient-registration form lists workers' compensation as the insurance provider. Mattress Direct filed an employer report of injury/illness with Louisiana's Office of Workers' Compensation. Warren admitted in his responses to the defendants' first set of requests for admissions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents that the workers' compensation insurer paid his hospital bills.

¶ 4. Warren's complaint alleged that the accident was due to Kenton's negligent operation of the delivery truck and Mattress Direct's negligent entrustment of the vehicle to Kenton. Kenton and Mattress Direct's motion for summary judgment asserted that Warren's exclusive remedy was under Louisiana's workers' compensation law; therefore, he was barred from asserting common-law tort claims against Kenton and Mattress Direct.

¶ 5. Additional facts, as necessary, will be related in our analysis and discussion of the issues.

ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUES

¶ 6. Appellate courts review a circuit court's grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment de novo. Buchanan v. Ameristar Casino Vicksburg, Inc.,852 So.2d 25, 26 (¶ 3) (Miss.2003). " The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party against whom the motion has been made." Id. (quoting Williamson ex rel. Williamson v. Keith, 786 So.2d 390, 393 (¶ 10) ...


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