California: Worker’s Tort Action Utilizing California’s “Power Press” Exception to Exclusivity Fails

California: Worker’s Tort Action Utilizing California’s “Power Press” Exception to Exclusivity Fails

A California appellate court recently affirmed a trial court’s summary judgment favoring an employer in an intentional tort action filed by an employee who sustained severe injuries while loading material onto a die in a power press.  The employee contended that she could recover under Cal. Labor Code § 4558—the power press exception to the workers' compensation exclusivity rule—since the press activated while she placed materials within the zone of danger. The appellate court agreed with the trial court that there was no evidence that the employer received any communication from the manufacturer that safety blocks needed to be installed or otherwise attached to the Press.  The court said that it could not ignore the language the legislature had used in the statute.  The employer could only be liable in instances in which the worker's injury was proximately caused by the employer's failure to install or its removal of a point of operation guard.  The kind of safety block at issue in this case, which was not attached to the press, and was moved into and out of the point of operation by the worker, was not such a guard or device contemplated by § 4558.

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 Gonzalez v. Seal Methods, Inc., 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 64 (Jan. 24, 2014) [2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 64 (Jan. 24, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 105.06 [105.06]

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

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