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Workers' Compensation

Massachusetts: Court Adopts "Sufficient Significant Contacts" Test for Out-of-State Injuries

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in a case of first impression, adopted the "sufficient significant contacts" test for determining whether the Commonwealth had jurisdiction over an extra-territorial work-related injury. It held the test that had been utilized by the Department of Industrial Accidents was too narrow. Accordingly, the Court said the Department had jurisdiction over a claim in which a Massachusetts resident entered into an employment contract in Pennsylvania, and later sustained back injuries while unloading a trailer in Maine. The Court stressed that in the instant case, the claimant-driver was licensed by the Commonwealth to drive commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers. He learned of the position with the employer by way of an advertisement placed in a local Massachusetts newspaper. During the course of his employment, the claimant drove in Massachusetts more than any other State, except Pennsylvania. He had employment-related contact with Massachusetts on almost half of the days he worked for the employer, more than with any other State. The Court noted also that after sustaining his injury, the claimant returned to Massachusetts for medical care. All these factors supported jurisdiction.

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 Mendes’s Case, 2020 Mass. LEXIS 661 (Oct. 29, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 143.04.

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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