Frisby v. Milbank Mfg. Co., No. 11-1858 (8th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Shirley Frisby died from an apparent heart attack while working on an assembly line at Milbank Manufacturing Company in Arkansas. A claim for workers' compensation death benefits was filed just before the two-year statute of limitations expired. The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission denied the claim. Curtis Frisby, as administrator of his wife's estate, then commenced this wrongful death diversity action against Milbank. The district court dismissed the action as time barred. Curtis appealed, arguing that the filing of a workers' compensation claim tolls the statute of limitations for a tort claim against the employer for the same injury, and alternatively, that the Arkansas "savings statute" applies and provided him one year after the workers' compensation claim denial to file this action for the same injury. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) because Curtis was able to file a timely wrongful death tort action before or concurrent with the claim for workers' compensation benefits, the district court correctly rejected his tolling argument; and (2) the savings statute did not apply because the dismissal of the workers' compensation claim did not have the same effect as a nonsuit.