Federal: Sixth Circuit RICO Suit Related to Workplace Injury Claims Dismissed

Federal: Sixth Circuit RICO Suit Related to Workplace Injury Claims Dismissed

Reversing a decision entered last year by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a divided en banc panel (11 to 5) of the Court has dismissed a suit alleging that a third-party claims administrator’s collusion with Coca-Cola Enterprises to deny injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits violated the RICO Act. Accordingly, the decision affirmed a trial court's previous dismissal of a suit filed in 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The 6th Circuit majority reasoned that if Congress had intended for RICO to serve as an alternative federal forum for workers compensation disputes, “it would have provided more explicit guidance” to do so.  The majority said that plaintiffs’ expectation of benefits was not a sufficient property interest under RICO and added that while the RICO law was to be given liberal construction, it was not intended as “a means for federalizing personal injury tort claims arising under state law.”  Writing for the dissent, Judge Karen Nelson Moore indicated in relevant part that in as much as the plaintiffs had allegedly suffered a property-related injury—the loss of workers compensation benefits—they had stated a claim.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

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See Jackson v. Sedgwick Claims Management Servs., Inc., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19495 (Sept. 24, 2013) [2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19495 (Sept. 24, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 100.03 [100.03]

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

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