SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court panel on July 16 affirmed a trial court's ruling requiring a flower shop owner to pay $14,200 in restitution to a former employee after she pleaded no contest to fraud charges stemming from her failure to pay for unemployment and workers' compensation insurance, finding that while the former employee's work records "were a mess," the trial judge properly calculated the amount needed to make the victim whole (People of California v. Cynthia Ann Smith, No. A153490, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4769).
TRENTON, N.J. - Insufficient evidence of exposure to asbestos or its role in a man's lung cancer supports a widow's workers' compensation claim, a New Jersey appeals court held Jul 11 (Michelle Lomet, et al. v. Lawes Coal Co., No. A-1169-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1635).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An industrial commission properly relied on Social Security records showing limited income in concluding that a man had not worked for an employer long enough to satisfy the statutory requirements for a workers' compensation claim and in rejecting expert testimony on causation, a North Carolina appeals court held June 19 (Kathy D. Carroll, et al. v. Johns Manville, et al., No. COA17-1172, N.C. App., 2018 N.C. App. LEXIS 594).
MINNEAPOLIS - Parties have written a letter to a Minnesota federal magistrate judge on June 8 advising that they have settled a breach of contract lawsuit arising from an insurer's alleged failure to reimburse unpaid defense costs in a settlement of an underlying workers' compensation claim after reinsurance initially provided coverage (Berkley Risk Administrators Co. LLC, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 17-04765, D. Minn.).
AUSTIN, Texas - An appellate court ruling threatens the workers' compensation exclusivity provision critical to the law's function by lowering the standard for filing a tort action from gross negligence requiring actual knowledge of a likely injury to simple negligence, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Texas Supreme Court on May 25. In a response to a conditional petition by the appellees, the employer at the heart of the case told the court that the plaintiffs are following a recent trend in litigation by dressing up emotional damages as economic ones (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 18-0056, Texas Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In light of a Missouri Supreme Court decision finding a law providing increased compensation for mesothelioma workers' compensation claimants constitutional, it is not necessary to stay a case involving a different take on the same law, a state appeals court held May 29 (Vincent Hegger v. Valley Farm Dairy Co., No. ED106278, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Court of Appeals on May 23 reversed a trial judge's dismissal of a dissolved self-insurance trust from a liquidator's declaratory judgment action over an insolvent insurer's coverage obligations for workers' compensation claims because it was not within the judge's discretion to answer the novel question on whether a trust can be sued after it has voluntarily dissolved (Raymond G. Farmer v. CAGC Insurance Co., et al., No. 2016-000192, S.C. App., 2018 S.C. App. LEXIS 36).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A 2014 law providing for enhanced workers' compensation benefits for mesothelioma victims applies in a case where an insurer and employer specifically agreed to cover future claims and does not act retroactively, Missouri's Supreme Court held May 22 (Accident Fund Insurance Co., et al. v. Robert Casey, et al., No. SC96899, Mo. Sup.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - The state's workers' compensation commission properly determined the employer with which a man's last injurious exposure occurred, and neither the employee nor the commission had to specifically negate the possibility of subsequent exposures, a North Carolina court held May 1 (Carra Jane Penegar, et al. v. United Parcel Service, et al., No. COA17-404, N.C. App., 2018 N.C. App. LEXIS 435).
NEW ORLEANS - The Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act provides the exclusive remedy for a widow and her children's asbestos-related claims and warrants granting summary judgment on their state law tort claims, a federal judge in Louisiana held April 30, while denying their motion to dismiss the implicated claims (Diane Pitre, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 17-7029, E.D. La., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71932).
BOSTON - A reinsurer and not a trust fund is responsible for the continued payment of workers' compensation benefits to an employee, a Massachusetts appeals panel affirmed May 2 (Robert Janocha v. Malden Mills Industries Inc., et al., No. 16-P-1181, Mass. App., 2018 Mass. App. LEXIS 50).
HOUSTON - Texas law requires that claimants give notice of a workers' compensation claim within six months of the incident, rendering untimely a woman's asbestos action filed years after her husband retired as a judge, the county told a Texas appellate court on Feb. 12 (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
LINCOLN, Neb. - In a dispute over whether a reinsurer owes $152,616.35 under a promissory note executed pursuant to a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA), the reinsurer filed a counterclaim on Feb. 2 in the Nebraska federal court, alleging that an insurer fraudulently charged employer-insureds inflated premiums and costs for workers' compensation insurance (Applied Underwriters Inc. v. Top's Personnel Inc., No. 15-90, D. Neb.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A company agreed to take on workers' compensation claims when it purchased a facility, and a widow's lung cancer claim falls within the list of compensable claims, even though some doctors concluded that asbestos was not a cause of the disease, West Virginia's top court held Jan. 25 (Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood v. Delores M. Ambro, et al., No. 17-0753, W.Va. Sup. App., 2018 W.Va. LEXIS 73).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on Jan. 11 granted a construction company's motion to reconsider a ruling denying its motion to dismiss, finding that the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (SCWCC) should determine if an insurance policy issued to the company was in place at the time a man's claim was filed (Owners Insurance Company v. Warren Mechanical LLC, No. 16-cv-0668-DCN, D. S.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5187).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court panel on Jan. 11 found that a man found guilty of workers' compensation fraud should serve three years because the sentence is allowed by the California Insurance Code and because the defendant did not object to the sentence to the trial court judge (People v. Luis Hernandez, No. B279922, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 5th Div., 2018 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 265).
BATON ROUGE, La. - In a workers' compensation case, a Louisiana appeals panel on Jan. 8 upheld the termination of indemnity and medical benefits paid by the Kentucky Insurance Guaranty Association (KIGA) because there was no connection between an employee's multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis and work accident (Kym Hurst v. Cirrus Allied LLC and Kentucky Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 2017 CA 0731, La. App., 1st Cir., 2018 La. App. LEXIS 43).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Jan. 5 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to a temporary work agency after finding that a woman's claims that she was injured in a car crash while on her way to pick up her paycheck are barred under the exclusivity provision of the Kentucky Workers' Compensation Act (Cheryl L. Deems v. Minute Men Inc., No. 2014-ca-002051, Ky. App., Ky. App. LEXIS 19).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 29 approved the voluntary dismissal of a review in a workers' compensation lawsuit filed by an employer and its insolvent insurer against a claimant (Laura Stewart v. Florida Workers' Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. SC17-1757, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2568).
SAN FRANCISCO - In a dispute regarding a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA), a California federal magistrate judge on Dec. 28 confirmed an arbitration award, ordering an insured to pay $539,246.88 to an insurer in remaining premium payments for the workers' compensation coverage (American ETC, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company Inc., No. 17-03660, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 212811).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Whether a 2014 law providing enhanced workers' compensation benefits for mesothelioma victims retroactively upsets vested interests is a constitutional question for the state's top court, the Missouri Court of Appeals held Dec. 19 (Accident Fund Insurance Co., et al. v. Robert Casey, et al., Nos. WD80470, WD80481, WD80525, Mo. App., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207148).