Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Estate Administrator May Not Sue Employer Over Employment-Related Fatal Shooting

Larson’s Spotlight on Recent Cases: Estate Administrator May Not Sue Employer Over Employment-Related Fatal Shooting

Larson's Spotlight on Exclusive Remedy, Notice of Injury, Claimant's Testimony, and Death Benefits. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

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IL: Estate Administrator May Not Sue Employer Over Employment-Related Fatal Shooting

An Illinois appellate court recently affirmed a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a defendant-employer that had been sued by the special administrator of a deceased employee's estate.  The deceased employee was shot and killed by a co-employee.  Evidence that the two employees had argued the day prior to the shooting and that the deceased employee had taunted the other employee because the latter had been passed over for the position of fry cook supported the notion that the dispute between the two was not merely personal, but directly connected to the employment.  The special administrator's exclusive remedy was within the workers' compensation system; she could not maintain a tort action against the employer.

See Rodriguez v. Frankie's Beef/Pasta and Catering, 2012 Ill. App. LEXIS 653 (Aug. 14, 2012).

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 8.01, 100.01.

MN: Worker's Two-Year Delay in Fully Recognizing Work-Connectedness of Back Pain Results in Denial of Claim

A deeply divided Supreme Court of Minnesota, quoting Larson's Workers' Compensation Law,  § 126.05, recently reversed a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals and determined that a worker's claim for workers' compensation benefits was barred because the worker failed to give timely notice to his employer about the work-related injury.  The court of appeals had found the delay in filing the notice-almost two years after the last day the he worked-was excused because no reasonable person would have known that the injury was compensable until the worker was provided with written medical reports establishing a relationship between the back condition and the employment.  The majority relied upon the fact that, among other things, the worker testified that as soon as he saw the initial x-rays, he knew that the bending and lifting associated with his work had caused or contributed to the back condition.  The dissent, also quoting Larson, § 126.05, indicated that the case was fact-specific and should not be reversed.

See Anderson v. Frontier Communications, 2012 Minn. LEXIS 397 (Aug. 10, 2012).

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 126.05.

NC: Claimant's Testimony May Well Have Been Consistent; Commission Found It Just Wasn't Credible

Acknowledging that the plaintiff (claimant) repeatedly gave the same account of his injury to co-workers, to physicians and medical care providers, and to the Industrial Commission, and that such consistence lent "credence" to that account, a North Carolina appellate court also observed that nevertheless the Industrial Commission had found plaintiff's uncorroborated account of his accident was not credible, and the appellate court could not and would not overturn the Commission's findings.

See King v. Capital of Cary, 2012 N.C. App. LEXIS 966 (Aug. 7, 2012).

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 130.05.

PA: Death Benefits Awarded for Fatal Post-Surgical Infection Resulting From Professor's Fall in Restaurant During Off-Premises Lunch

In a case with rather bizarre facts, a Pennsylvania appellate court has affirmed an award of death benefits to the widow of a professor who died, apparently from a post-surgical infection associated with the treatment of a broken arm and shoulder.  The fractures were sustained in a fall at an off-campus restaurant during a lunch meeting with a doctoral student.  The employer contended the fall, and resulting death, did not arise out of and in the course of the employment, but the appellate court disagreed.  The court acknowledged that injuries during off-premises lunches were, indeed, ordinarily excluded from workers' compensation coverage.  Where the employee or survivors could show that the employee was engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, however, there could be an award.  Here the student and professor met for what was anticipated to be a three-hour meeting over lunch.  The two had discussed the student's upcoming defense of his dissertation for more than an hour when they decided to go to the restaurant's salad bar to begin their lunch.  While at the salad bar, the professor fell.  There was certain sufficient evidence to support the Board's finding that the professor was about the business of the employer at the time of the fall.

See Pennsylvania State Univ. v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Rabin), 2012 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 245 (Aug. 15, 2012).

See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 21.02.

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

Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law

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