Legal Memorandum: Establishing Negligence Claims in KS

Issue: What Kansas judicial interpretations exist relating to the use of OSHA, DOT and Kansas regulations and statutes to establish negligence?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Negligence; Standard of care; OSHA standards
Jurisdiction: Kansas
Cited Cases: 920 F. Supp. 1188; 602 F. Supp. 294; 866 F. Supp. 1304
Cited Statutes: 49 C.F.R. § 396.3; 29 C.F.R. § 1910.132
Date: 07/01/2000

Several federal district court decisions in Kansas have addressed or at least discussed the issue of whether OSHA standards may be admitted to show evidence relating to standard of care.  For example, Martin v. Mapco Ammonia Pipeline, Inc., 866 F. Supp. 1304 (D. Kan. 1994), involved a plaintiff’s contention that the defendant should not be able to use evidence of compliance with a federal pipeline act as a defense to negligence.  Id. at 1306.  The court could not find any cases directly relating to the issue, so it discussed in some detail the case law in the federal courts relating to whether OSHA regulations may be introduced as evidence relating to standard of care.  Id. at 1306-07 (discussing federal circuit opinions).  The Martin court noted that the majority of the courts have “held that OSHA standards can be admitted to show evidence relating to standard of care, but cannot be considered conclusive proof of negligence or the absence of negligence.”  Id. at 1308.  The court then proceeded to adopt the standard announced in the OSHA cases for its pipeline case.

In Security Nat’l Bank v. Chloride, Inc, 602 F. Supp. 294 (D. Kan. 1985), the court held that it is within the court’s discretion to determine whether an OSHA standard (the Lead Standard in its case) sets forth the standard of reasonable care in Kansas.  Id. at 297.  In doing so, the court stated that it would be […]

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