Madison - St. Clair Record

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UPS granted summary judgment in dog bite case brought by driver

By Ann Maher | Feb 8, 2016


United Parcel Service has been granted summary judgment in litigation brought by an injured delivery driver suing an Edwardsville resident over a 2012 dog attack.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge found that allegations against UPS - which was brought into the suit as third party defendant by dog owner Kevin Autenrieb - were not supported by evidence.

In his Jan. 16 order, Mudge also stated that it was "undisputed" that UPS provided driver Steven Campbell with a safe place to work.

Campbell filed suit in November 2013 against Autenrieb claiming he hurt his back in the process of preventing a dog bite while delivering a package.

The suit accuses Autenrieb of negligence and of violating Illinois’ Animal Control Act.

A year after the suit was filed, Autenrieb filed a claim for contribution against UPS saying the company failed to properly train or supervise Campbell, or failed to provide proper equipment or co-workers for Campbell to properly carry out his duties.

UPS, represented by Todd Stanton and Jason McKnight of Stanton Law in St. Louis, argued in a motion for summary judgment that Autenrieb's claim for contribution was premised on the allegation that UPS failed to provide a safe workplace for Campbell, a claim that "plaintiff himself unequivocally denies," they wrote.

"Plaintiff admitted and acknowledged that he was adequately trained, supervised, equipped and provided co-workers by UPS such that he felt adequately prepared to address a dangerous dog."

Autenrieb's attorney, Jason Kleindorfer and Michael Murphy of Freeark Harvey and Mendillo of Belleville, wrote in response to the summary judgment motion, that "at a minimum, there is evidence that UPS has pressured the plaintiff to work harder, forced him into certain types of treatment, and required him to return to work when he was allegedly injured."

They also argued that Campbell's deposition testimony stating that he acted within his UPS training while defending himself from the dog was "self serving."

"A reading of this testimony with the understanding that the plaintiff is giving his version of how he was injured allows one to infer the reasons why the plaintiff would give such testimony; he does not want to hurt his case against defendant Autenrieb," they wrote.

Mudge did not agree.

"There must be some basis for UPS's liability to the Plaintiff," he wrote. "In the instant case, the Court finds that there is no such basis. It is undisputed in the record before the court that UPS provided the Plaintiff with a reasonably safe place in which to work. The Plainiff's testimony regarding the training, supervision and the provision of protective equipment and co-workers over the course of this twenty-plus year career is undisputed."

Campbell's case against Autenrieb continues.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1904.

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