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.).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two claimants in Libby, Mont., seeking to hold insurers of W.R. Grace & Co. liable for their asbestos injuries can pursue negligence and bad faith claims in state court against an insurer based on workers' compensation policies not covered by W.R. Grace's Chapter 11 reorganization; however, similar claims in other state court actions are barred by an injunction in W.R. Grace's case channeling asbestos claims to a trust for resolution, a Delaware federal bankruptcy judge ruled Oct. 17 (In re: W.R. Grace & Co., et al., No. 01-01139 [Ralph Hutt and Carl Osborn v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. 14-50867], [Continental Casualty Company, et al. v. Jeremy B. Carr, et al., No. 15-50766], D. Del. Bkcy.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - One of the defendants being sued in connection with injuries suffered by two workers when a lithium battery exploded during a hydraulic fracturing operation filed an answer and counterclaim in Oklahoma federal court on Oct. 14, contending that the plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that it is entitled to immunity under the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Act (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al., and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).
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).
PHILADELPHIA - A firefighter's failure to link occupation exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens to his prostate cancer dooms his workers' compensation claim, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held Sept. 7 (Earl Hutz v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board [City of Philadelphia], No. 2140 C.D. 2015, Pa. Cmwlth.; 2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 382).
LAS VEGAS - An insurer did not act in bad faith in failing to pay an insured the policy limits under the underinsured motorist (UIM) provision of an automobile insurance policy because the insured had received payments from workers' compensation for his injuries that were deducted from the insurance payment, a federal judge in Nevada ruled Sept. 7 in granting the insurer's motion for reconsideration (Jose R. Luna v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-1104, D. Nev.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120598).
RUTLAND, Vt. - An insured's bad faith lawsuit against her former employer's workers' compensation insurance provider is subject to the primary jurisdiction doctrine and, thus, is subject to a stay pending the outcome of the insured's workers' compensation proceedings with the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL), a federal judge in Vermont ruled Aug. 26 (Annemieke Graven Meau v. Sentry Casualty Co., No. 15-67, D. Vt.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113653).
ST. LOUIS - Hourly manufacturing employees are not owed compensation for time spent donning and doffing work clothing because that time was excluded from measured working time in an implied-in-fact bona fide collective bargaining agreement between the employer and union representing the workers, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 23 (David J. Jackson, et al. v. Old EPT, LLC, also known as EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, No. 15-1078, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15416).
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.).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on June 21 dismissed a class complaint accusing a seafood and steakhouse of failing to properly compensate its workers for nontipped duties performed before and after closing and improperly deducting transaction fees from tips paid via credit cards (Chelsey Craig, et al. v. Landry's, Inc., et al., No. 16-277, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80489).