Federal: Tennessee Employee May Not Sue Statutory Employer for Work-Related Injury

Federal: Tennessee Employee May Not Sue Statutory Employer for Work-Related Injury

Noting that Tennessee courts have held that the exclusive remedy rule protects statutory employers from tort claims by employees of their subcontractors for injuries covered by the Tennessee workers' compensation act, even if the immediate employer pays the entire workers' compensation claim, and even in situations in which the statutory employer was not in fact required to pay worker's compensation benefits to the worker, a federal district court recently granted summary judgment to a baking company defendant that had been sued by the employee of another firm that had been hired by the defendant to provide sanitation services at one of the baker’s bakeries.  The court found unpersuasive the argument of the plaintiff, that his employer was not a subcontractor of the baking company, but rather an “independent contractor.”  The court indicated the apparent distinction did not matter, that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the baking company was acting as a principal contractor, and that the plaintiff was performing sanitation work under the terms of a contract that, but for its existence, would otherwise have been performed by employees of the baking company as a part of their regular business duties.  In fact, prior to the hiring of plaintiff’s employer to provide the services, the work had indeed been performed by baking company employees.  The baking company was immune from suit.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Campbell v. Flowers Bakery of Crossville, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7790 (M.D. Tenn., Jan. 22, 2014) [2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7790 (M.D. Tenn., Jan. 22, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 111.04 [111.04]

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

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