WANTONNESS & CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE - LAFARGE NORTH AMERICA, INC., ET AL V. NORD
In Lafarge North America, Inc., et al v. Nord, [Ms. 1090620, Sept. 23, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala.2011), Lawrence Nord ("Plaintiff") suffered injuries to his foot at a cement packhouse operated by Defendant Lafarge. At the time of his injury, Plaintiff was working as a driver for Southern Tank Transport. The procedure at Lafarge's packhouse was for drivers to park their flatbed trucks in a loading bay, then proceed by foot to an office to receive a load assignment. Plaintiff was injured on his return to the loading bay when a Lafarge forktruck ran over Plaintiff's foot. There were no signs, warnings, or barriers to prevent, warn or protect drivers from the loading zone where Plaintiff was injured. At trial, the jury returned a general verdict, awarding Plaintiff $125,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages. Lafarge appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment and entered judgment in favor of all defendants. The Supreme Court held that the record "does not contain substantial evidence of wantonness" and reversed the trial court's judgment denying the defendants' renewed motion for JML on Nord's wantonness claim. The Supreme Court also held, as a matter of law, that Nord was contributorily negligent, and reversed the trial court's judgment denying the defendants' renewed motion for JML on Nord's negligence claim.