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Federal: Breach of Contract Claim Against Special Employer for Failure to Provide Safe Work Environment Is Barred By Exclusiveness

April 11, 2014 (1 min read)

That an employer referred in its Policies and Procedures Handbook to its commitment to provide a safe and health work place for its employees, that the Handbook also stated that safety rules and safe work practices were “not optional,” and that the employer had gone to great lengths to provide a safe work environment for its employees did not mean the personal representative of a deceased employee could maintain a civil action against the employer for breach of contract following the tragic death of an employee, held a federal district court.  According to the district court, the Policies and Procedures Handbook did not create an implied contract between the parties and, in any event, the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act's exclusive-remedy provisions barred a breach-of-contract claim for the failure to provide a safe workplace when the contract term was not express and specific. That the employer was actually engaged in the business of supplying workers to other businesses made no difference, indicated the court as it quoted Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law.  Summary judgment in favor of the employer was, therefore, appropriate.

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

See Lopez v. American Baler Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44193 (D. N. M., Mar. 27, 2014) [2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44193 (D. N. M., Mar. 27, 2014)]

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

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

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