Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (11/19/2010)

Larson's Spotlight on Psychiatric Injury, Domestic Servant, Tort Claim, Employee Status, and LHWCA Coverage. 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.

Larson's Spotlight on Psychiatric Injury, Domestic Servant, Tort Claim, Employee Status, and LHWCA Coverage. 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.

CA:  Board Must Consider Industrial and NonIndustrial Causes in Determining Compensability of Psychiatric Injuries

A California appellate court recently held that the plain language of Cal. Labor Code § 3208.3 provides, in relevant part, that no compensation should be paid for psychiatric injury substantially caused by lawful personnel action and that as the term is used within the statute, "substantial cause" means at least 35 percent of all sources of causation, industrial and nonindustrial.  Here it was determined that the employee had suffered psychiatric injury, that lawful personnel actions constituted less than 35 percent of all industrial and nonindustrial causes of her injury, but the employer argued that the decision should have been based only on the total of the industrial causes-that the nonindustrial causes should have been disregarded.  That would have had the effect of increasing the percentage associated with the personnel actions and would have defeated the claim.  The appellate court said the plain language of the statute controlled.

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 Cal. App. LEXIS 1943. 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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WA: Domestic Servant's Claim Excluded from Coverage in Spite of Additional Work Performed at Couple's Business

As is the case in a number of states, the state of Washington specifically excludes domestic servants from workers' compensation coverage [see RCW 51.12.020(1)].  Citing Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, Ch. 72, § 72.01, a state appellate court recently agreed with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals that the claim of a woman who was injured while employed as a baby-sitter and housekeeper was not compensable in spite of the fact that the woman was also employed for a few hours a night on weekends at a nightclub owned and managed by the parents.  Her primary work was in the couple's home, performing household duties and chores.

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 Wash. App. LEXIS 2546. 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, § 72.03.

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NY: Worker's Reckless Actions Bar Tort Claim

A New York appellate court recently affirmed an entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action filed by a construction worker who, during a lunch break, forced open the door of an elevator that had been disabled for several weeks, stepped into the "darkness" and fell 9 or 10 feet, sustaining injuries.  The court indicated the worker could not prevail under either a negligence theory or under a Labor Law claim; all evidence pointed to the worker's reckless actions as the sole cause of his injuries.

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 8489. 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, § 110.01.

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OH:  Truck Driver Without Employment Contract Not Covered by Workers' Compensation

Because a truck driver killed in an accident while hauling materials for a paving company had worked irregularly for the company for a short time with no formal agreement and limited direction, he was not an employee for purposes of the Ohio Workers' Compensation Act, held a state appellate court recently. 

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 Ohio App. LEXIS 4676. 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, § 64.01.

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US: Mechanic's Injury on Navigable Waters Means LHWCA Coverage

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a decision of the Benefits Review Board that had held that a mechanic on a work-over rig mounted on a barge that was "spudded" at a well location in Louisiana state waters was entitled to coverage under the Longshore Act for injuries he sustained on the barge.  Acknowledging that under Herb's Welding, Inc. v. Gray, 470 U.S. 414, 105 S. Ct. 1421, 84 L.Ed.2d 406 (1985), oilfield workers injured on stationary platforms are not covered, since the platforms are not considered vessels, the court indicated that here the worker was injured on a barge that was considered a vessel.  Under the Supreme Court's decision in Director v. Perini North River Assoc., 459 U.S. 297, 103 S.Ct. 634, 74 L.Ed.2d 465 (1983), the worker need not show he was engaged in traditional maritime activities.

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 U.S. App. LEXIS 23658. 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, § 145.04.

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

   Offer good through December 2010.