ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Lawyers representing the Missouri Department of Transportation want you to believe an unborn baby was working for the state during a fatal work zone crash, all in order to have a lawsuit dismissed.
The bizarre opinion is in response to a lawsuit over the November 2021 tragedy that killed two MoDOT employees, one of whom was pregnant.
In November 2021, a car plowed through a Telegraph/I-270 work zone, killing James Brooks and Kaitlyn Anderson. Anderson was six months pregnant at the time.
In new legal filings, MoDOT says the unborn baby “…Jaxx Jarvis would also fall within the definition of ‘employee.’”
“When I saw that, it was disappointing,” attorney Andrew Mundwiller said.
Mundwiller, who is suing MoDOT on behalf of Anderson’s family, says the claim is MoDOT’s way of evading accountability.
“First of all, it’s illogical. How would somebody who hasn’t even been born yet work for you?” he said. “But if they were to get someone to buy that, then that means your case is dismissed out of St. Louis County, go to the comp system, where they’re going to take a different position, just like they did initially.”
Workers’ comp already denied Anderson’s family claim because Kaitlyn was not married and had no dependents. Mundwiller says workers’ comp will certainly deny an unborn baby.
“What they’re hoping is they don’t pay anything,” he said.
MoDOT did not have a protective truck in place that day, even though it’s a department policy. That’s the focus of a lawsuit that, Kaitlyn’s mom says, MoDOT keeps avoiding.
“Instead of admitting fault and working with me to make sure this doesn’t happen again, they just keep beating me down,” Tonya Musskopf said.
“MoDOT has tried everything to get out of the damage that they’ve caused to our family, and for them to say an unborn child was their employee to get out of it is just, it’s heartbreaking.”
“How does the government really value life?” Mundwiller said. “They say they value life, but then you look at the things they write in court papers, and I want people to be able to judge for themselves.”
MoDOT declined to comment for this story. The next hearing is Feb. 23 when a judge will decide whether he believes an unborn baby was MoDOT’s employee on Nov. 18, 2021.