North Carolina: Inmate-Barber’s Tort Claim Related to Assault by Fellow Prisoner Is Barred by Exclusivity

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina recently held that a state prisoner, who worked in the prison barber shop, may not maintain an action under the state’s Tort Claim Act against the Department of Public Safety for negligently failing to restrain a high-security inmate who punched the plaintiff in the mouth while the two, and others, were in the shop.  Plaintiff alleged that the exclusivity defense did not apply since, at the time of the assault, he was not cutting anyone’s hair.  The court held that the fact that the assault was not perpetrated at the moment plaintiff was actively grooming a customer or by plaintiff's particular client was irrelevant; the assault was still causally connected to plaintiff's employment.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Judge v. N.C. Dep’t of Public Safety, 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 39 (Jan. 7, 2014) [2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 39 (Jan. 7, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 64.03 [64.03]

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

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