APPEAL FROM THE VANDERBURGH CIRCUIT COURT, The Honorable William H. Miller, Judge, Cause No. 304.
Neal, J., Ratliff, C.j. and Miller, P.j. Concur.
Defendant-appellant, Bob C. Rodgers (Rodgers), appeals a judgment based upon an adverse jury verdict rendered in the Vanderburgh Circuit Court in favor of plaintiff-appellees, Connie Hembd (Hembd) and John Hembd, her husband, in her suit for personal injuries and his suit for loss of consortium.
Rodgers is a licensed architect. Commencing January 1, 1978, and continuing at all times relevant here, he was the vice-president of design and construction for the Darryl's Restaurant Division of the General Mills Restaurant Group (Darryl's), which owned and operated a Darryl's Restaurant in Evansville, Indiana. He was also a member of the executive committee of the design and construction department. Although he had been formerly in the private practice of architecture, he no longer pursued that practice after coming to Darryl's. Hembd concedes that at the time of the injury both she and Rodgers were employees of Darryl's. Because his status with Darryl's had not changed, we must assume that Rodgers was also an employee when the Evansville restaurant was built in 1982 or 1983. Rodgers designed the Evansville restaurant and the plans were approved by the corporation, and also by the public authorities as required by Indiana law.
Hembd started working as a waitress at Darryl's in Evansville in January, 1984. On June 13, 1984, while in the course of her employment, she descended a stairway from a second story storage room which terminated at a landing. On the right side of the landing, at a right angle to the stairs, there existed a door leading from the kitchen and opening into the landing. As she stepped onto the landing from the last step, another employee abruptly burst through the kitchen door striking Hembd and injuring her. She brought suit against Rodgers alleging that the design of the stairway, landing, and door were defective, and that the plans did not comply with the applicable building code.
Rodger's defense, among others, was that the Indiana Workmen's Compensation Act afforded Hembd an exclusive remedy. Hembd prevailed at trial and was awarded judgment in the amount of $15,000.00.
Rodgers presents a number of issues. Because we reverse, we will discuss only that issue which is dispositive, namely whether the Workmen's Compensation Act is Hembd's exclusive remedy.
IND. CODE 22-3-6-1(b) ...