Lamson v. American Axe & Tool Co. – Case Brief
Lamson v. American Axe & Tool Co., 177 Mass. 144, 58 N. E. 585 (1900).
Facts: Lamson (P) was employed as a hatchet painter by American Axe & Tool Co. (D). American Axe had recently acquired a new rack for freshly painted hatchets but hatchets tended to fall off the rack when nearby equipment was used. Lamson informed D of the problem but was told that he would have to use the racks or leave. Lamson continued to work for D and later sustained injury caused by the defective rack. P sued D while he was working for D under the employers’ liability act for personal injuries. The trial court judge ordered a directed verdict for D and P appealed.
Issue: If an employee informs an employer of a dangerous situation, but continues to work while the danger still exists, is there assumption of the risk by the employee?
Holding and Rule: Yes. If an employee knowingly works in a dangerous situation, the employer is not liable for any accident that may occur because the employee has assumed the risk. P knew the danger better than anyone else but continued to work. The accident was caused by P’s continuing to work there and not by the negligence of another.
Disposition: Affirmed – judgment for D.
Notes: P could have taken lower wages at a safer workplace or could have left the situation. Because he remained he had assumed the risk.