Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (7/30/2010)

Larson's Spotlight on Mental Injury, Attorney's Fees, Death Benefits, Intentional Tort, and Statute of Limitations. 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.

FL: Nurse's Mental Injury May Be Compensable if it Accompanied Physical Injury

A Florida appellate court, construing the state's statute governing "mental-mental" workers' compensation claims, has held that a nurse, who worked in a treatment center that housed patients with behavioral and mental disorders, who was struck in her neck and throat by a violent patent, who was later diagnosed with a laryngeal contusion and vocal cord hematoma, and who also contended she suffered psychiatric injuries as a result of the incident may be able to recover for her mental injury § 440.093(1)-a mental or nervous injury accompanying a physical injury.  Because the parties and the Judge of Compensation claims "conflated" the provisions of the statute, the matter was remanded for a determination of the merits.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Fla. App. LEXIS 10802. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 56.06.

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AK: "Project Owner's" $10 Tender of Judgment, Made at Outset of Case, Did Not Serve Purpose of Rule 68; Tender Did Not Trigger Application of Rule for Awarding Defendant Attorney's Fees

The Supreme Court of Alaska recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of Alyeska Pipeline Service in a negligence action filed against it by an employee of a sub-contractor that provided security, medical support, lodging, and catering services to the pipeline, where the employee was injured in a work-related incident near a food storage facility.  The court reversed, however, the superior court's award of almost $12,500 in attorney's fees in favor of Alyeska, however, finding the defendant's tender of judgment in the amount of $10-Alyeska had earlier written counsel for the plaintiff and indicated it would prevail in the negligence action because it enjoyed immunity under the Workers' Compensation Act as a project owner.  The minimal offer of judgment did not serve the purpose of Rule 68, which was "to encourage settlement and avoid protracted litigation.  The Court did not specifically adopt a good-faith test; it merely indicated the nominal offer of judgment was insufficient to trigger attorney's fees.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Alas. LEXIS 79. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 133.02.

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MO: Fire Captain's Death Caused By Abnormal Work Conditions, Not Undiagnosed Heart Condition

A Missouri appellate court has affirmed an award of death benefits associated with the collapse and sudden death of a fire department captain who, on a hot, humid evening, helped other law enforcement officials at the scene of two separate auto accidents; evidence that he was wearing heavy fire department gear, that he had to descend into a wet, deep, slippery ditch to assist with a driver who had been ejected from a vehicle, and that he collapsed and died from ventricular fibrillation-a heart rhythm abnormality-was sufficient to show that the work conditions were the "prevailing factor" causing the captain's death and not an undiagnosed condition.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Mo. App. LEXIS 988. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 3.06.

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MN: Employee's Intentional Tort Action Against Employer Allowed to Proceed

In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals of Minnesota recently reversed a summary judgment order favoring a restaurant employer who had been sued by a waitress/bartender for personal injuries arising out of three incidents in which the employer allegedly struck and choked the employee.  Finding that the employee had produced sufficient evidence that in his actions, the employer desired to cause pain to some degree, that he knew his punches and squeezing actions were substantially certain to cause some degree of pain, and that, accordingly, the employee had stated a cause of action not barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the workers' compensation law.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 739. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 103.04.

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NY: Worker's Attempt to Amend Claim More than Three Years After Initial Injury Fails

A New York appellate court recently affirmed a decision by the state's Workers' Compensation Board that dismissed, as time-barred, a worker's attempted amendment of her left ankle and leg injury claim so as to include a consequential right hip injury, finding the injury occurred on August 26, 2005, that the worker's claim was initially established for the left ankle and leg and subsequently modified to include consequential injuries to her right shoulder, but that the attempt to include the hip, filed in April 2008, was beyond the two-year statute of limitations; long before the statute ran, medical evidence established that her hip problem was related to the 2005 injury.  The worker's failure to modify her claim within the two-year period barred any additional recovery.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6370. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 131.02.

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

   Offer good through December 2010.