Kronberg v. Oasis Petroleum, No. 15-1617 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
After Joseph Kronberg was electrocuted and died while working at an oil well as an employee of Nabors, Mr. Kronberg's widow filed wrongful death and survival actions against Oasis Petroleum and others. The district court granted summary judgment for Oasis and RPM Consulting. The court concluded that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to RPM Consulting’s lack of control over an independent contractor's, Michael Bader, safety practices; RPM Consulting owed no duty to Mr. Kronberg under the doctrine of retained control; and thus neither company may be held vicariously liable for Bader’s alleged negligence as a company hand. The court also concluded that Oasis did now owe Mr. Kronberg a duty of care under North Dakota premises liability law where the record does not support a finding that Oasis controlled the property and had an opportunity to observe dangerous conditions at the well. Finally, the court concluded that Oasis did not have a duty to provide an automated external defibrillator at the well where the court could not predict that the North Dakota Supreme Court would adopt the proposed common law duty. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.