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Workers' Compensation

Idaho: Split Supreme Court Adopts Reckless Standard in Intentional Tort Cases

In a decision that is likely to have broad and long-reaching ramifications, a divided Supreme Court of Idaho, following a rehearing in a case decided one year earlier, threw out its earlier decision and adopted a rule that allows an injured employee to sue his or her employer in tort for reckless conduct. Reversing the state trial court, which had granted summary judgment in favor of the employer on grounds that the civil action was barred by the exclusive remedy rule, the majority looked to the wording in Idaho Code § 72-209(3), which permits an employee to pursue a separate civil action against an employer if the employer committed an act of “wilful or unprovoked physical aggression” against the employee. Seizing upon the conjunction “or,” the majority said the plaintiff could maintain a tort action not only for intentional injuries, but also in those instances in which the employer turned a blind eye to a known danger.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Gomez v. Crookham Co., 2019 Ida. LEXIS 238 (Dec. 20, 2019)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 103.01.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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