Construing Florida law, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a federal district court improperly granted a former employer summary judgment in a civil action filed against the former employer by a former employee who contended her shoulder condition, which developed over the 21 years she worked for the employer, was caused by the employer’s negligence. The former employer contended the civil action was barred by exclusivity. The plaintiff countered that she had filed a workers’ compensation claim, had received some medical treatment, but when she requested authorization for surgery, the claim was denied has not having been caused by her employment. The 11th Circuit Court noted the line of cases in Florida holding that under some circumstances an employer could not both claim the alleged injury was not compensable under workers’ compensation law and also take advantage of the exclusivity defense if the claim was filed in the state or federal courts. The circuit court indicated that whether estoppel applied turned on what reasons were given for denying workers' compensation benefits. Where, as here, the record revealed multiple possible explanations for the denial, or the language in the denial document was ambiguous and gave rise to more than one interpretation, issues of material fact existed over whether the employer's position was inconsistent so as to indicate possible estoppel.
Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.
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See Picon v. Gallagher Bassett Servs., Inc., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23250 (11th Cir., Nov. 19, 2013) [2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23250 (11th Cir., Nov. 19, 2013)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 100.01 [100.01]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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