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Federal: Ohio Employee May Maintain Civil Action for PTSD Against Employer

September 30, 2016 (1 min read)

Construing Ohio law, a federal district court in that state denied an employer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a civil action filed by an employee in which the employee alleged that he suffered severe mental pain and suffering and psychological injuries, including PTSD, after he witnessed a long-time co-employee sustain fatal injuries in a work-related incident. Citing Ohio Rev. Code § 4123.74, the employer contended that Ohio’s workers’ compensation system was the exclusive remedy for employees who “develop injuries, diseases, or bodily conditions within the course of or arising from their employment.” The employer further contended that the term “bodily condition” was not defined, but that it should include any condition that was neurobiological in nature, that is, that originated in affected the “functioning of the brain, and … associated with biochemical and structural changes in the brain and the body.” The federal court Indicated that it was bound by Bunger v. Lawson Co., 82 Ohio St. 3d 463, 1998 Ohio 407, 696 N.E. 2d 1029 (Ohio 1998), in which the Supreme Court of Ohio “plainly and simply held that a common-law remedy for a purely psychological workplace injury was not foreclosed” by the exclusive remedy doctrine. The federal court added that if it were “writing on a clean slate,” it would find the employer’s arguments compelling.

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.

See Allen v. PPG Indus., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130456 (N.D. Ohio, Sept. 23, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 56.04.

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