LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Because the state's workers' compensation system contemplates coverage for mesothelioma, the law's exclusivity provision bars a tort action against an employer, even where the disease arose outside the period for filing a claim, the Arkansas Supreme Court held Dec. 15 in a 4-3 opinion (Brenda Hendrix, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., No. CV-15-558, Ark. Sup.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The complexity of asbestos cases requires that the workers' compensation commissioner have the power to grant provisional dismissals to "clear the room" and then reinstate claims as necessary, Connecticut's top court held in an opinion set for release on Dec. 20 (John Graham, et al. v. Olson Wood Associates Inc., et al., No. SC 19626, Conn. Sup.; 2016 Conn. LEXIS 371).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A mesothelioma sufferer has standing to pursue, and the court has jurisdiction over, claims that an employer and its insurer are not making timely payments under North Carolina's workers' compensation statutes, a federal judge in North Carolina held Sept. 9 (James Norman Richardson v. PCS Phosphate Company Inc., et al., No. 16-00068, W.D. N.C; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122354).
DALLAS - A Texas appellate panel on Aug. 16 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a general contractor and subcontractors in an injured worker's tort-based lawsuit because, it said, the worker's exclusive remedy was through the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (Juan Carlos Flores v. Chasco Inc., et al., No. 05-14-00531-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 8913).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed a class claim for medical monitoring brought by airline workers stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport who allege that they were exposed to toxins, finding that the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (PWCA) is the exclusive remedy available to the workers (David Smith, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 16-156, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107402).
AUSTIN, Texas - The exclusive remedy provision of the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (TWCA) barred a man's premises liability claims against a general contractor for injuries he sustained while working as a subcontractor on a construction site, a Texas appellate panel ruled July 22, affirming summary judgment for the general contractor (Matthew Eric Kershner v. Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, No. 03-15-00529-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 7801).
MINNEAPOLIS - The judge overseeing the National Hockey League (NHL) concussion injury multidistrict litigation on July 13 partially granted the players' motion to enforce a subpoena and ordered the league's workers' compensation insurer to produce independent medical exam (IME) records of NHL retirees who had submitted workers' comp claims (In re: National Hockey League Players Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL No. 14-2551, D. Minn.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Industrial Commission of Ohio properly relied on a board-certified pulmonologist's opinion in denying a man's occupational asbestos injury claim, Ohio's top court held April 13 (The State ex rel. Robert Boyd v. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., et al., No. 2016-Ohio-1508, Ohio Sup.; 2016 Ohio LEXIS 928).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An asbestosis workers' compensation claim may proceed because it differs sufficiently from a previously dismissed breathing dysfunction claim, a panel of Tennessee's top court held Dec. 10 (Jimmy Segroves v. Union Carbide, et al., No. E2015-00572-SC-R3-WC, Tenn. Sup., Spcl. Wrkrs. Comp. App.; 2015 Tenn. LEXIS 945).
LIMA, Ohio - Sufficient evidence supports a jury's conclusion that lung cancer arose from a man's asbestos exposure at an automaker's facility, an Ohio appeals court said Nov. 30 in affirming a widow's access to the state's workers' compensation system (Loretta S. Bryant, surviving spouse of Ivan Bryant v. General Motors Corp., and Marsha P. Ryan, admr Ohio Bureau of Workers' Comp., et al.,No. 4-15-03, Ohio App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4768).
CHICAGO - While it creates a harsh outcome, Illinois law forecloses on a tort remedy for a man whose mesothelioma arose outside the state's 25-year limit on workers' compensation claims, the majority of the Illinois Supreme Court held Nov. 4 (Ellen Folta, et al. v. Ferro Engineering, a division of ON Marine Services Co., No. 118070, Ill. Sup.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The judge of compensation claims (JCC) did not abuse his discretion in denying an objection to medical opinion testimony in a workers' compensation lawsuit, a Florida appeals panel affirmed Sept. 30 (Ernesto O. Sierra v. Metropolitan Protective Services and Guarantee Insurance, No. 1D15-0094, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 14510).
LOS ANGELES - The state's workers' compensation exclusivity provision bars a tort action alleging exposures to asbestos from pipes a man brought home from work because it involves the same mesothelioma his occupational exposure triggered, a California appeals panel held Sept. 17 (Mary Melendrez, et al. v. Ameron International Corp., Nos. B256928, B259423, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 820).