Boca Raton, FL – NCCI’s Court Case Update provides a look at some of the cases and decisions monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division that may impact workers compensation across the states. The recently released August 2019 edition contains updated information on cases previously introduced and presents new cases and decisions.
Workers Compensation Exclusive Remedy
Challenges to employer immunity from injured employee tort suits—as provided by workers compensation exclusive remedy—have persisted into 2019. Below are some of the latest cases involving exclusive remedy.
- Texas — The Court of Appeals for the Ninth District in Amerigas Propane, L.P. v. Aboyte-Muniz ruled that an employer’s name that was accidentally omitted from a workers compensation policy issued to its parent company was entitled to exclusive remedy immunity. The court found that the payment of premium by the employer and the receipt of benefits by injured employees constituted evidence that coverage was in place at the time of the injuries.
- Oklahoma — In Wells v. Oklahoma Roofing & Sheet Metal, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that injuries that are substantially certain to occur are considered intentional torts by an employer and are not subject to the exclusive remedy protection of Oklahoma’s Workers Compensation Act. The court determined that “specific intent” and “substantial certainty” are both nomenclatures of an intentional tort. Thus, an employer’s act or failure to act is intentional if the employer acts with willful, deliberate, specific intent to injure, or when the employer is substantially certain that an injury will result.
The following cases, reported in previous editions of the Court Case Update, are still pending:
- Texas — Berkel & Company Contractors, Inc. v. Lee, a case concerning the intentional injury exception to exclusive remedy, remains pending with the Texas Supreme Court.
- Wisconsin — In Graef v. Continental Indemnity Co., the Wisconsin Court of Appeals is expected to rule if exclusive remedy bars a negligence lawsuit against a workers compensation insurer. The worker suffered from depression caused by a workplace accident and is suing the insurer for self-inflicted injuries allegedly caused by the insurer’s failure to authorize medication to treat the depression.
Read the full Court Case Update: NCCI Court Case Update: August 2019