Pipeline co must face premises liability claim in sex harassment case

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals courtroom on Tuesday stated an oil pipeline operator can’t be held chargeable for the alleged sexual harassment of a contractor’s worker below anti-discrimination legal guidelines, however revived her bid to carry contemporary claims towards the corporate stemming from its management of the worksite.

A 3-judge panel of the tenth U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals said plaintiff Jessica Adams had sufficiently alleged that Alpha Crude Connector LLC (ACC) managed the New Mexico web site the place she labored for C3 Pipeline Development Inc, so she might file an amended criticism accusing the corporate of premises liability.

Underneath New Mexico regulation, an organization that hires a contractor is mostly not chargeable for accidents to the contractor’s workers. However there may be an exception to that rule when the corporate controls the premises on which the work is being carried out.

However the tenth Circuit affirmed a decide’s dismissal of her claim that ACC, now part of Plains All American Pipeline LP, was her “joint employer” with C3 below Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a comparable New Mexico regulation. ACC lacked the facility to rent, hearth, self-discipline and supervise Adams, and had no management over the C3 workers who allegedly harassed her, the panel stated.

Adams’ lawyer, Timothy Atler of Atler Legislation Agency, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Paula Maynes of Miller Stratvert, who represents ACC mother or father Plains All American Pipeline, stated she was dissatisfied that Adams will probably be allowed to file an amended criticism however stated she believes that the premises liability claim would finally fall quick.

Adams claims three males she labored with pressured her to have sex, made sexually specific feedback, groped her and despatched her pornographic pictures. A jury in 2019 awarded Adams $55 million on her claims towards C3, which was lowered to about $20,000 by U.S. District Decide Kenneth Gonzales.

Previous to the trial towards C3, Gonzales had dismissed Adams’ claims towards ACC. The decide additionally denied her movement to file an amended criticism, saying it might be futile as a result of he had already decided that ACC didn’t management Adams’ working situations.

The tenth Circuit panel on Tuesday stated Gonzales had ignored proof provided up by Adams involving ACC’s management over the worksite, and her claim that she had complained in regards to the alleged harassment to ACC and was advised to “suck it up.”

The case is Adams v. C3 Pipeline Development Inc, tenth U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, No. 20-2055.

For Adams: Timothy Atler of Atler Legislation Agency

For Plains: Kelsey Inexperienced of Miller Stratvert

Daniel Wiessner

Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) studies on labor and employment and immigration regulation, together with litigation and coverage making. He could be reached at [email protected]