Civil Procedure Keyed to Marcus
Smith v. Western Electric Co
Plaintiff appeals an order that dismissed his petition on the ground it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The petition seeks an injunction to prevent Plaintiff’s employer from exposing him to tobacco smoke in the workplace and from affecting his employment conditions because of his medical reaction to tobacco smoke. Specifically, the petition alleges that Western Electric Company (Defendant) permits its employees to be exposed to a health hazard and breached its duty to provide a safe place to work. The petition further states that in 1975, the Plaintiff began to experience respiratory tract discomfort as a result of inhaling tobacco smoke in the workplace. A medical examination determined that Plaintiff suffers an adverse reaction to tobacco smoke. The doctors who evaluated and treated Plaintiff advised him to avoid contact with tobacco smoke. When Plaintiff first complained to Defendant in 1975, it moved Plaintiff to a different location within the plant. However, his health did not improve because those locations also contained a significant amount of tobacco smoke. In 1978, Plaintiff was informed that he should not file any other complaints. Defendant adopted a smoking policy in 1980, in response to recommendations of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. However, Defendant failed to implement its policy and there was little to no improvement in the workplace air. In 1980, Plaintiff filed a Handicapped Declaration Statement with Defendant claiming that he was handicapped by his susceptibility to tobacco smoke. Defendant continued to refuse to separate smokers to limit smoking to non-work areas and informed Plaintiff he could either continue to work in the same location and wear a respirator, or he could apply for a lower paying job. Plaintiff’s complaint states that he has exhausted all claims of relief and has no adequate remedy at law. The complaint alleges that Defendant breached his duty as an employer to maintain a safe place to work and that it has reasonable alternatives to avoid the continuing breach of duty.
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