Aggressive Surveillance of Injured Worker’s Family: Federal Court Says Spouse’s Tort Action Not Barred by Exclusive Remedy Rule

In a diversity action filed by the spouse of an injured worker against the third-party firm administering her husband's workers' compensation claim, a federal district court recently refused to grant the defendant's summary judgment motion, finding the tort action was not barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act.

The husband, an employee of the Connecticut Department of Corrections, had earlier sought workers' compensation benefits for an alleged work-related injury. Thereafter, the plaintiff spouse claimed that defendant "aggressively" surveilled the worker's family, including one incident in which plaintiff, accompanied by her daughter and grandfather, reached speeds of 80 miles per hour while being chased by representatives of the defendant. Plaintiff also alleged that a few days later, plaintiff and her family left for a camping trip in Rhode Island, that an agent of the defendant followed them to the campsite and took pictures of the group. Plaintiff alleged that over the next several months, defendant's personnel conducted additional surveillance of the plaintiff's home and that the cumulative actions of defendant had caused plaintiff emotional distress.

Citing Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 104.05, the district court held that there were issues of fact that precluded summary judgment, that the Connecticut legislation had not intended carriers and their representatives to be exempt from all torts in connection with the handling of claims.

See Nordstrom v. GAB Robins North America, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46148 (W.D. Ct., Mar. 31, 2012)

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 104.05.

Source: Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the nation's leading authority on workers' compensation law.

Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law

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