Clifford Lantz appeals the summary judgment dismissing his tort action against his former employer, National Semiconductor Corporation ("National"), and one of its supervisory employees, John Ford. In dismissing, the district court concluded that the Utah Workers' Compensation statute, Utah Code Ann. §§ 35-1-1 to -107 (1988), provided Lantz's exclusive remedy against National and precluded any action against Ford. We agree and affirm.
"In reviewing a summary judgment, we analyze the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to the losing party." Copper State Leasing Co. v. Blacker Appliance & Furniture Co., 770 P.2d 88 (Ct. App. 1988). Although the facts are mostly undisputed, with this standard in mind we set forth any disputed facts as characterized by Lantz. See also Abdulkadir v. Western Pac. R.R. Co., 7 Utah.2d 53, 318 P.2d 339, 341 (1957) (summary judgment proper, even if facts disputed, where party who successfully moved for judgment would be entitled to judgment no matter how factual dispute was resolved).
Lantz worked as a "stepper operator" in an area of National's West Jordan plant known as the Mos II Fab. Within the Mos II Fab, an area where computer chips are
On February 3, 1985, there was a chemical spill in a third area of the Mos II Fab, the "spin aisle." The spin aisle is located between the etch area and the stepper bay. At approximately 4:00 a.m., Lantz approached Ford to report that several stepper employees were feeling ill. Lantz asked for permission to evacuate the stepper bay. Ford said the smell "wasn't that bad" and instructed: "Business as usual." Despite Ford's response, several of Lantz's fellow employees immediately left the work area. At approximately 5:00 a.m., Lantz again approached Ford, but this time only to discuss product specifications. Lantz made no reference to the smell and did not request permission to evacuate the area. Finally, sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., Lantz approached Ford, complained of illness, and requested permission to evacuate. Ford again replied that the smell was not that bad. Shortly thereafter, Lantz became ill and fell unconscious. Exposure to the toxic fumes resulted in serious injury to Lantz.
Lantz was aware of National's policy that permitted employees to evacuate without supervisory authorization whenever they deemed conditions unsafe. Despite the departure of a number of his colleagues at different times throughout the morning, Lantz feared some reprisal if he were to do likewise.
Lantz filed this civil action against National and Ford. While National is clearly entitled to its judgment of dismissal,
EXCLUSIVITY OF REMEDY UNDER UTAH WORKERS' COMPENSATION LAW
For reasons explained at some length in Bryan v. Utah Int'l, 533 P.2d 892, 893-94 (Utah 1975), an injured workers' recovery under the workers' compensation program is in lieu of ordinary tort remedies. "The essence of a workers' compensation system is that it is a mutual arrangement of reciprocal rights between an employer and an employee whereby both parties give up and gain certain advantages." Bingham v. Lagoon Corp., 707 P.2d 678, 679 (Utah 1985). The purpose of the workers' compensation act "is to provide speedy and certain compensation for workmen and their dependents and to avoid the delay, expense and uncertainty which were involved prior to the act; and the concomitant purpose of protecting the employer from the hazards of exorbitant and in some instances perhaps ruinous liabilities." Adamson v. Okland Constr. Co., 29 Utah.2d 286, 508 P.2d 805, 807 (1973).
The controlling statute in Utah provides in part as follows:
Utah Code Ann. § 35-1-60 (1988) (emphasis added).
The Utah Supreme Court has recognized an exception to the exclusiveness of the workers' compensation remedy as set forth in § 35-1-60 for intentionally caused injuries.
SCOPE OF EXCEPTION TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION EXCLUSIVITY
Lantz alleges that Ford commanded him to continue to work in a dangerous situation which Ford knew was substantially certain to cause Lantz injury. Lantz encourages this court to adopt the "substantial certainty" definition of "intentional" recognized in the area of tort law. Lantz reminds us of the discussion in Bryan that "the definition of the word `intentional' is more compact than is that of the word `willful'; and when used to describe a wrongful act its meaning is that the act was not only done knowingly, but with the knowledge that it was wrongful to do it." 533 P.2d at 894. Lantz takes this as a declaration by the Bryan court that the same definition of "intentional" employed in tort law should be applied in the workers' compensation context. Under that approach, an actor's conduct is deemed intentional if he desires to cause the consequences of his act or believes the consequences are substantially certain to follow. See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 8A at 15 (1965).
National, on the other hand, argues that the exception recognized in Bryan is only applicable in situations characterized by "a conscious and deliberate intent directed to the purpose of inflicting injury." Hildebrandt v. Whirlpool Corp., 364 N.W.2d 394, 396 (Minn. 1985) (quoting Breimhorst v. Beckman, 227 Minn. 409, 35 N.W.2d 719, 730 (1949)). This is the definition of "intentional" contemplated by the workers' compensation schemes in a majority of jurisdictions. 2A A. Larson, The Law of Workmen's Compensation, § 68.13 (1988). Larson, who provides an exhaustive list of decisions which we need not repeat here, concludes that common law liability "cannot, under the almost unanimous rule, be stretched to include accidental injuries caused by the gross, wanton, willful, deliberate, intentional, reckless, culpable, or malicious negligence, breach of statute, or
Id. at 13-36 through 13-44 (footnotes omitted). While Larson's statements address an employer's liability, Utah's Workers' Compensation statute expressly protects — to the very same extent as the employer — "any officer, agent or employee of the employer." Utah Code Ann. § 35-1-60 (1988).
The weight of authority marshalled by Larson is overwhelming and his analysis is compelling. We accordingly reject Lantz's argument that knowing to a substantial certainty that injury will follow is sufficient to invoke the exception contemplated in Bryan to the exclusiveness of the workers' compensation remedy.
Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to Lantz, he has failed to show either that Ford had an actual deliberate intent to injure him or the existence of a material factual dispute concerning the issue. Absent such a showing, summary judgment was properly entered in favor of Ford as well as National. See Note 1, supra.
As previously mentioned, the purpose of the workers' compensation program is to create a system in which "employers are barred from presenting certain defenses to the claim for compensation, [and an] employee's burden of proof is relatively light... . In a word, these statutes compromise an employee's right to a common law tort action for work related injuries in return for relatively quick and certain compensation." Mingachos v. CBS, Inc., 196 Conn. 91, 491 A.2d 368, 373 (1985). Requiring an injured employee to show that his employer or fellow employee manifested a deliberate intent to injure him before allowing an exception to the statute is fully consistent with this purpose. Based on the foregoing, the summary judgment entered in favor of National and Ford was correct and it is affirmed.
GARFF and GREENWOOD, JJ., concur.
Utah Code Ann. § 35-1-12 (1988).