Wilson v. Unistrut Service Co. of St. Louis, Inc., WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Citation858 S.W.2d 729
Docket NumberNo. WD,WD
PartiesTed R. WILSON, et ux., Appellants, v. UNISTRUT SERVICE COMPANY OF ST. LOUIS, INC., Respondent. 46925.
Decision Date01 June 1993

Ronald R. Holliger, Kansas City, for appellants.

David Roy Buchanan, Kansas City, for respondent.

Before FENNER, P.J., and SPINDEN and SMART, JJ.

FENNER, Presiding Judge.

Appellant, Ted Wilson, appeals from an order of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment of respondent, Unistrut Service Company of St. Louis, Inc. (Unistrut).

This action arises from an underlying construction project involving the A.G. Edwards building in St. Louis, Missouri (The Edwards Project). Unistrut had contracted to furnish and install skylights and a glass wall for the Edwards Project. Unistrut subcontracted its obligation in regard to the skylights and glass wall on the Edwards Project to Skylight Industries, Inc. (Skylight). Appellant, Ted Wilson, was the president of Skylight.

Skylight became financially unable to perform on its contract and Unistrut agreed to perform Skylight's obligations. Unistrut entered into a personal consulting agreement with Wilson whereby Wilson would supervise shop fabrication and field installation of the skylights. Unistrut also hired some of Skylight's laborers to perform the work.

On September 26, 1988, Wilson was present at Unistrut's warehouse in St. Louis where the skylights were to be constructed. Wilson was inspecting glass to be used on the Edwards Project. When Unistrut employees attempted to open a crate containing glass panels, the panels fell from the crate and injured Wilson.

Wilson brought suit on negligence and strict liability theories against Unistrut and the distributor of the glass, Hard-Temp/Thermoglas (Hard-Temp). Hard-Temp then filed a third party action against PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG) and Wilson amended his petition to assert negligence and strict liability claims against PPG, as well.

In defense to Wilson's action, Unistrut asserted that Wilson was its statutory employee under section 287.040.1, RSMo 1986 1, of the Workers' Compensation Act. Unistrut filed a motion for summary judgment on that issue arguing that Wilson's claim was subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Worker's Compensation Act. Unistrut's motion was granted by the trial court. After summary judgment was granted in favor of Unistrut, Wilson voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice, his remaining claims against Hard-Temp and PPG. Thereafter, Wilson filed another action alleging negligence and strict liability against Hard-Temp and PPG only.

A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is the proper remedy for a determination of whether a plaintiff's exclusive remedy is under Worker's Compensation. Shaver v. First Union Realty Management, Inc., 713 S.W.2d 297, 299 (Mo.App.1986). However, a motion for summary judgment based on exclusivity under Worker's Compensation may be treated as a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Id. We consider Unistrut's motion for summary judgment as a motion to dismiss.

On appeal, Wilson argues that the trial court erred in dismissing his claim against Unistrut. Wilson argues that he was not a statutory employee under section 287.040.1 because he was not working in Unistrut's usual business when injured. Unistrut seeks dismissal of Wilson's appeal arguing that the judgment from which Wilson appeals was not final for purpose of appeal.


A judgment is final for purpose of appeal that disposes of all issues as to all parties, leaving nothing for future determination. Magee v. Blue Ridge Professional Building Co., 821 S.W.2d 839, 842 (Mo. banc 1991). When multiple parties are involved in an action, an order that adjudicates fewer than all claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all parties shall not terminate the action as to any of the claims or parties and the order is subject to revision at any time before judgment adjudicating all claims or the rights and liabilities of all the parties, unless the trial court expressly provides in its order that there is no just reason for delay. Rule 74.01(b).

Ordinarily, when a claim is dismissed without prejudice, the plaintiff may cure the dismissal by filing another suit in the same court and, therefore, a dismissal without prejudice is not a final judgment for purpose of appeal. Dillaplain v. Lite Industries, Inc., 788 S.W.2d 530, 532 (Mo.App.1990). However, when a plaintiff's action against one defendant is dismissed by the trial court for failure to state a cause of action and the plaintiff subsequently dismisses his action against all remaining defendants, without prejudice, the judgment of the trial court dismissing as to the initial defendant becomes final for purpose of appeal. Magee v. Blue Ridge Professional Building Co., Inc., 821 S.W.2d at 842.

In the case at bar, Wilson's action against Unistrut was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction upon the court finding that Wilson's claim against Unistrut was subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Worker's Compensation. The trial court did not make an express finding that there was no just reason for delay. Nonetheless, as in Magee, Wilson's subsequent dismissal of his claim against Hard-Temp and PPG without prejudice rendered the dismissal as to Unistrut final for purpose of appeal.

Although Wilson refiled his action against Hard-Temp and PPG, the fact that Wilson has not refiled against Unistrut indicates that Wilson acknowledges that the dismissal as to Unistrut had the effect of precluding refiling to the extent that the court had already determined that his claim against Unistrut was subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of...

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10 cases
  • Harris v. Vernier, Docket No. 208750.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • October 18, 2000
    ...subject matter jurisdiction." See also Wine-Settergren v. Lamey, 716 N.E.2d 381, 385 (Ind., 1999); Wilson v. Unistrut Service Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 858 S.W.2d 729, 730 (Mo.App., 1993); Bonner v. Minico, Inc., 159 Ariz. 246, 249, 766 P.2d 598 (1988); Messner v. Briggs & Stratton Corp., 120......
  • Manning v. Fedotin
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 8, 2002
    ...final judgment. Generally, a dismissal without prejudice does not constitute a final appealable order. Wilson v. Unistrut Serv. Co., 858 S.W.2d 729, 731 (Mo.App.1993). However, the Missouri Supreme Court has held that the dismissal of a petition for failure to file the affidavit required un......
  • State Ex Rel. City of Blue Springs v. the Honorable Robert M. Schieber
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 21, 2011
    ...842 (Mo. banc 1991) (so holding with respect to a dismissal for failure to state a claim); Wilson v. Unistrut Serv. Co. of St. Louis, 858 S.W.2d 729, 731 (Mo.App. W.D.1993) (same). That is what happened here: Blue Springs was granted summary judgment, and then the Stevenses dismissed the re......
  • Doe v. Visionaire Corporation
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • March 7, 2000
    ...for lack of jurisdiction has also been found appealable. Chromalloy American Corp., 955 S.W.2d at 3; Wilson v. Unistrut Service Co., 858 S.W.2d 729, 730-31 (Mo. App. W.D. 1993). A common factor of those dismissals without prejudice found appealable was that the plaintiffs could not maintain......
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