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Louisiana: Teacher’s Intentional Tort Action Against School Board Fails

A teacher, who was six-weeks pregnant at the time of a classroom incident that resulted in her injury, may not maintain a tort action against the school board; her allegations failed to raise an issue of intentional tort and her civil action was, therefore, barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of...

New York: Opera Singer Can Sue Metropolitan Opera House for Injuries Sustained in Fall

A prominent opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera House is not an employee of the entertainment facility that featured her in more than 500 performances during his 23-year career; her employment contract was with her personal holding company and not the opera house, held a New York appellate court....

Washington: Employee Can Sue Co-Employee in Tort for Injuries Sustained in After-Hours Accident

Adopting the dominant rule discussed in Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law , Ch. 111, § 111.03, the Supreme Court of Washington held that a co-employee enjoys immunity under the exclusive remedy provisions of the state’s workers’ compensation law only when that co-employee...

United States: Michigan Federal Court Reiterates that RICO May Not Be Used for Bad Faith Claims

Citing two earlier precedents, a federal district court sitting in Michigan has once again ruled, in pertinent part, that racketeering activity leading to a loss or diminution of benefits that a plaintiff expects to receive under a state workers compensation system does not constitute an injury to “business...

North Carolina: Workers’ Involved in “Ultra-hazardous” Activity May Not Sue Employers in Tort

A North Carolina appellate court held that the exclusive remedy provisions of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act apply to bar civil actions against the employer for all employees—even those that are engaged in “ultra-hazardous” activity. Acknowledging that at common law...

United States: Wrongful Death Action Following Explosion of Mortar Shell Barred by Exclusivity

Construing Illinois law, a federal district court held that plaintiff’s wrongful death action against the decedent’s employer was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act [see 820 ILCS 305/5] where the decedent was killed by the explosion of...

New York: Golf Club Attendant May Sue Co-Employee for “Errant” Swing of Golf Shaft

Applying New York’s rule regarding co-employee immunity—that in order for a co-employee to be shielded from liability, the co-employee must (a) have been acting within the scope of his or her employment and (b) not have been engaged in a willful or intentional tort—a state appellate...

United States: Surviving Spouse May Not Maintain Tort Action Against Employer Following Robbery and Murder

The surviving spouse of a woman who worked at a Virginia apartment complex and who sustained fatal injuries when she was attacked and stabbed by a robber cannot maintain a civil action against the employer; the tort action was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation...

Minnesota: Workers’ Compensation Provides Exclusive Remedy for Teacher Injured in Fight at School

A Minnesota high school teacher and lunchroom supervisor, who sustained injuries when he tried to break up a fight between two students during a lunch period, may not maintain a civil action against his employer (and various officials) for negligence, held a U.S. District Court Judge in Minnesota. The...

New York: Eucharistic Volunteer Trips at Altar and in Court—Tort Suit is Barred by Exclusive Remedy Rule

A volunteer at a Roman Catholic church, who on occasion helped distribute the Eucharistic elements, may not sue the church in tort for injuries that she sustained when she tripped and fell over an exposed power cord near the church altar; her negligence action was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions...

Texas: Appeals Court Overturns $43 Million Verdict on Exclusive Remedy Grounds

Where a general contractor enters into a written agreement under which the general contractor provides workers’ compensation insurance coverage to a subcontractor and the subcontractor’s employees through a contractor-controlled insurance program (CCIP), the general contractor is deemed to...

Idaho: Wrongful Death Action Following Helicopter Crash Against State Agency Barred by Exclusive Remedy Rule

In a case with a bizarre factual background, the Supreme Court of Idaho affirmed a state trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) on exclusive remedy grounds in a wrongful death action filed by the father of a pilot killed in a helicopter...

California Workers’ Comp Case Roundup: 10/3/2017

CALIFORNIA COMPENSATION CASES Vol. 82, No. 9 September 2017 A Report of En Banc and Significant Panel Decisions of the WCAB and Selected Court Opinions of Related Interest, With a Digest of WCAB Decisions Denied Judicial Review CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE © Copyright 2017 LexisNexis. All...

Workers’ Compensation of the Future: Will Mutual Dystopia Be the New Normal?

By Richard B. Rubenstein, Esq., Rothenberg, Rubenstein, Berliner & Shinrod, LLC, Livingston, New Jersey It is 2017, and among the most watched properties in our media are A Handmaid’s Tale and Hunger Games . Dystopia rules in 2017. With this in mind, Mark Walls, a prolific producer of seminars...

Kentucky: Opioid Dependence Results in Loss of Co-Employee Immunity in Tort Action

A school bus driver was not entitled to rely upon Kentucky’s fellow-immunity rule in a tort action filed against her, since there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that the defendant driver was voluntarily intoxicated at the time of a serious vehicle accident; her actions...

Texas: Status as Traveling Employee Works to Bar Wrongful Death Action

A Texas trial court appropriately found plaintiff’s wrongful death action barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act where the deceased employee suffered fatal injuries in a vehicle accident as he and others traveled to a job site. The appellate court...

Arkansas: Workers’ Compensation Exclusive Remedy for Fatal Shooting During Robbery

Substantial evidence supported the Commission’s finding that a restaurant employee was killed during the course and scope of his employment and, therefore, his survivors’ recover against the employer was limited to workers’ compensation death benefits, held an Arkansas appellate court...

United States: Texas Armored Car Employee’s Family May Not Recover Exemplary Damages for Death Occurring During Robbery

The family of a deceased employee of an armored car service may not maintain a wrongful death action for exemplary damages against the employer on the basis of allegations that it engaged in gross negligence resulting in the death of their family member because the death resulted from “an assault...

Oklahoma: Special Tort Immunity Provision Favoring Oil and Gas Wells Struck Down as Unconstitutional

A provision in Oklahoma’s Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act (“the Act”), 85A Okl. St. § 5, which favors operators and owners of oil and/or gas wells with extended immunity in tort actions filed against them by plaintiffs who are injured at the well site and who are...

Texas: Statutory Employer Was Not Immune from Tort Liability

In a decision that may produce ripples within the Texas construction industry, a state appellate court held that in order to enjoy the exclusive remedy defense, Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 406.123(a) requires a general contractor to do something more than simply pass the onus of obtaining coverage to...

Illinois: Children Born with Birth Defects Could Maintain Tort Action Against Fathers' Employer for Alleged Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Plaintiffs, who alleged that they were born with severe birth defects that had been (a) sustained in utero and (b) caused by their fathers' exposure to toxic chemical products during their fathers’ employment with the defendant, stated valid claims for negligence and willful and wanton misconduct...

New York: Tort Suit Against Co-Employee Not Barred Where Accident Occurred Near, But Away from Employer's Premises

The defendant employee’s employment ended when he entered his car, drove away from an employer-controlled parking lot, and struck a co-employee who had entered a cross-walk on a street that circled the employer’s campus. Accordingly, it was error for a trial court to grant summary judgment...

Oklahoma: Employer’s Shareholder Not Always Shielded by Exclusive Remedy Doctrine

In a split decision, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, answering a certified question for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, held the state’s Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act fully abrogated the so-called “dual-capacity” doctrine with regards to employers , but it did not...

Oklahoma: Shareholder Land Owner May Be Sued in Tort Following Fatal Work-Related Accident

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma held that the sole shareholder of a corporation, who individually owned a property where an employee of the corporation sustained fatal injuries, was not immune from suit for common-law negligence under the provisions of the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Act. Reversing...

Hawaii: Exclusive Remedy Provision Does Not Bar Civil Actions for Harm to Employee’s Reputation

The Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Act’s bar on claims for injuries incurred in the course of the employment does not extend to injuries to a person’s reputation, held the state’s Supreme Court. Accordingly, where two county employees filed a defamation suit against county officials...