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New Jersey: Most Third-Party Tort Action Waivers in Employment Contracts Invalidated

December 15, 2017 (1 min read)

Waiver or “disclaimer” clauses, typically found in the employment agreements of New Jersey workers that work for employment services firms, pursuant to which the employee prospectively waives third-party claims against the employer’s customers, are contrary to public policy, held the Supreme Court of New Jersey recently. The Court added that in as much as such clauses are contrary to both the letter and spirit of sections 39 and 40 of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act, they are void. In the case at bar, a security guard working for a security services firm, had been required to sign an employment contracting containing such a disclaimer clause. He sustained injuries when he fell down a staircase at the facility where had been assigned. After receiving workers’ compensation benefits, he sought to recover in tort against the facility owner, which defended on the basis of his waiver/disclaimer. A trial court refused, however, to grant the facility owner summary judgment and a jury returned a verdict for $900,000. While the matter was remanded on other grounds, the Court’s decision leaves in place the assignment of liability to the facility owner.

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 Vitale v. Schering-Plough Corp., Case No. A-20-16 (Dec. 11, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 110.03.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see