BALTIMORE - A man's asbestos-related exposures occurring during work covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) provide his employer with immunity from third-party claims, a federal judge in Maryland held April 25 in granting a railroad summary judgment (Charles Lemuel Arbogast Jr., et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., No. 14-4049, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62255).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 31 ordered the end of the rehabilitation of a workers' compensation trust at the request of the state's director of insurance (In the Matter of the Rehabilitation of Illinois State Bowling Proprietors' & recreational Industry Workers' Compensation Trust, No. 11 CH 36870, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
SAN DIEGO - An insurer is entitled to $37,000 in restitution from a man who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting to the company that nurses he sent to work at skilled-nursing facilities were computer programmers to obtain a lower workers' compensation policy premium, a California appeals panel ruled March 22 in affirming the man's conviction (People v. John Paul Riddles, No. D069419, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2017 Calif. App. LEXIS 259).
CHICAGO - An Illinois judge on March 10 granted a motion to suspend the briefing schedule on a liquidator's petition so that a claimant can secure documentation in support of his workers' compensation claim (In the Matter of the Liquidation of Illinois Movers' & Warehousemen's Risk Management Group, No. 12-CH-09140, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of the insolvent Reliance Insurance Co. asked a Pennsylvania court on Feb. 23 to approve an agreement under which a policyholder would receive direct payments from one of Reliance's reinsurers (In re: Reliance Insurance Co. in liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The claim by asbestos abatement and surveying companies and their principles that the government targeted them for enforcement actions based on their race "is arrant nonsense" unsupported by any facts, a Canadian judge held Feb. 1 (Manoj Singh aka Mike Singh, et al. v. Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia, et al., No. S166982, British Columbia Sup.).
NEW YORK - A reinsurer asked a federal court in New York on Jan. 25 to place a dispute regarding reinsurance of workers' compensation risks in the hands of an arbitration panel to decide (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer told a federal court in New York on Jan. 6 that the issue of whether a workers' compensation claim dispute can be arbitrated and what parties should participate in the arbitration is up to the court and not up to a panel of arbitrators to decide (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).
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).
NEW YORK - An alleged reinsurer told a federal court in New York on Dec. 13 that an arbitration panel, and not the court, should decide the proper parties to a workers' compensation reinsurance coverage dispute (In the Matter of the Arbitration Between National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 16-cv-08821, S.D. N.Y.).
CAMDEN, N.J. - The owner of a labor staffing firm and the manager committed workers' compensation fraud when misrepresenting the job descriptions of its employees in an attempt to obtain avoid paying for workers' compensation insurance, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Dec. 14 in granting in part Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment (Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company v. Quickstuff LLC, et al., No. 14-6105, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172522).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Canada's 10 provincial workers' compensation boards on Dec. 9 got more time from a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge to vote on the Chapter 11 plan for Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC so they can finalize a $20 million settlement with the debtor and related companies of the boards' claims for payments made to more than 1,300 Canadian workers suffering from asbestos diseases (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
ALBANY, N.Y. - A state system designed to compensate injured police officers does not constitute a workers' compensation system and allows for a tort action alleging exposure to asbestos while in the employ of the city of Buffalo, a divided New York Court of Appeals held Nov. 21 (In the Matter of James R. Diegelman, et al. v. City of Buffalo, et al., No. 168, N.Y. App.).
WEST DRAYTON, England - Oil and mining industrial services company Cape PLC announced Nov. 18 that a changing legal landscape means potential damages from an upcoming January trial over liabilities for a former asbestos factory could exceed expectations, potentially endangering a payment scheme designed to compensate injured workers and their family members.
SAN DIEGO - A California appeals panel on Nov. 14 upheld a trial judge's decision to require a man convicted of making false statements to physicians in connection with a workers' compensation claim to pay $30,154.02 to a risk services company, after finding that the defendant was unable to show that the amount should be limited to expenses caused by the crime for which he was convicted (The People of the State of California v. Chany Lopez, No. D069140, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Calif. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8197).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that a former Red Cross employee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims against her former employer did not arise under California's workers' compensation law, a California federal judge on Nov. 4 denied her ex parte application to remand the case to a state court (Xochitl Nisbet v. American National Red Cross, et al., No. 16-7342, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153626).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The liquidator of an insolvent insurer asked a Pennsylvania court on Nov. 3 to approve a plan by which a reinsurer will make direct payments of workers' compensation and employers' liability claims to an insured, thus relieving the insolvent insurer of its obligations to the insured (In re: Reliance Insurance Company in Liquidation, No. 1 REL 2001, Pa. Cmwlth.).