Workers' Compensation

Federal: D.C. Circuit Court Dismisses RICO Action for Alleged Tortious Conduct Related to Defense Base Act Claims

 

 

 

 

 

 

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, affirmed in relevant part the dismissal of a class action lawsuit that alleged several government contractors, insurance companies, and third parties (“contractors”) had committed torts and violated the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The employees, who had been injured while working for the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, had alleged the contractors violated RICO and the ADA in the improper and inappropriate handling of injury claims filed under the Defense Base Act [42 U.S.C.A. § 1651, et seq.] (“DBA”). More specifically, the employees contended the contractors had, among other things, failed or refused to provide medical benefits owed them under the DBA; inappropriately cut off or delayed medical benefits; made false statements and misrepresentations regarding employees’ claims; failed to comply with DBA orders; and threatened or otherwise discouraged employees from making claims. The Court held that the exclusive remedy provision of the DBA barred the class-wide tort claims and the claims brought under RICO. The Court did acknowledge, however, that under certain limited circumstances, an individual employee might have a claim against a defendant that fell outside the DBA (e.g., sexual assault, breach of contract). To that limited extent, the employee could proceed. The Court also indicated the bulk of the claims filed were appropriately dismissed because the DBA and the Longshore Act provided the employees with penalties for any alleged inappropriate claims handling.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

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

See Brink v. Continental Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9112 (D.C. Cir. June 2, 2015) [2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9112 (D.C. Cir. June 2, 2015)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, §§ 100.03, 149.05 [100.03, 149.05]

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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