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Showing 7 posts in Workers Compensation.

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Employer Liability on Obvious risk in Workplace Injuries

It's not too often that we hear of an employer being able to escape liability for a workplace injury, where the injury does, in fact, happen to an employee and it happens in the workplace. Below, we'll discuss a case where an employer did just that, however. More ›

California Court Expands Going and Coming Rule

Craig Schultz was a drafter for a civilian company that had several buildings located on a large U.S. Air Force base. He drove his personal vehicle onto the base and was permitted to travel around the base and use military vehicles in light of his employment with the civilian company. While driving to work one morning, and while on base, he suffered symptoms of his diabetes, which led to him flipping his car and sustaining severe injuries. Schultz filed a workers' compensation claim seeking benefits because his injury occurred on his employer's premises, and thus, he claimed he was injured in the course of his employment. California Court Expands Going and Coming Rule  More ›

Florida Court Declares 104-Week Limit of Temporary Benefits Unconstitutional, Reinstates 260-Week Cap

The Florida First District Court of Appeals was recently presented with a question concerning the constitutionality of the 104-week limitation on temporary indemnity benefits based on an injured worker who was not yet ready to return to work after the 104 weeks of temporary benefits, but who was not able to prove eventual permanent and total disability benefits, and therefore not entitled to indemnity benefits.  More ›

Employee’s Spouse’s loss of Consortium Claim Barred by Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Rule

The California Supreme Court recently found that an employee's spouse could not recover for loss of consortium in his civil employment action, even considering the "power press" exception to the Labor Code.  More ›

NFL Player Denied Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California

Former professional football player Bruce Matthews was a 19 year veteran of the NFL who retired in 2002 when he was with the Tennessee Titans. In 2008, he filed a claim in California claiming a right to workers' compensation benefits, even though there was no specific injury in California. After the claim was filed, the Titans filed a grievance against Matthews arguing that the suit violated his employment contract which specifically provided that any workers' compensation claim would be governed by Tennessee law. Due to a binding arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement, the parties ultimately arbitrated the dispute. The arbitrator found the choice of law provision to be valid and controlling, and ordered Matthews to "cease and desist" with the filing in California. Subsequently, Matthews filed suit in federal court to vacate the arbitration award. The District Court denied his request and confirmed the Arbitrator's Award. More ›

Ledbetter act only Affects Limitations Period for Claims Involving Actual Discrimination in Pay

In 2003 and 2004, a school district eliminated two employees’ custodial positions. The district offered the employees lower-paying janitorial jobs along with a promise to maintain their prior pay for two years. The employees accepted and continued to receive higher custodial wages until the pay cuts took effect in 2005 and 2006. When those pay cuts went into effect, the employees filed administrative charges alleging that the school district had violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by forcing them into lower-paying positions because of their age. The district court concluded that the charges were barred because they had not been filed within 300 days of the discriminatory decisions in 2003 and 2004, as required by the ADEA. The employees appealed based upon the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (Act). The Act changed how the limitations period is calculated for claims under the ADEA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, that involve “discrimination in compensation.” Under the Act, in applicable cases, each paycheck issued to an employee is treated as a new act of discrimination, and thus each paycheck resets the 300-day limitations period. The employees argued that their charges were filed within 300 days of their most recent paychecks, and therefore were timely under the Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rejected this argument, holding that the Act was intended as a narrow adjustment that only applies to claims involving actual discrimination in rates of pay (i.e., unequal pay for equal work). In this case, the employees had alleged discrimination in their demotion, not that younger employees were paid more for equal work. Accordingly, the employees’ 2005 and 2006 paychecks were not fresh acts of discrimination under the Act, and their claims were time-barred. This decision is a positive development for employers and if followed by other federal courts will limit the Act to claims involving actual pay discrimination and will not allow employees to bring stale claims involving other forms of discrimination.

Almond v. Unified Sch. Dist. #501, No. 10-3315 (10th Cir. Nov. 29, 2011).

Illinois Enacts Major Workers’ Compensation Reform

On June 28, 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law HB1698, a major workers’ compensation reform package. The bill’s intended effect is to reduce employer medical costs, limit indemnity payouts on certain claims, including loss of trade cases; strengthen rules on fraud; and provide more equity in Commission decisions and awards. Some of the changes apply to accidents that occur on or after September 1, 2011; others apply to existing cases where benefits accrue after September 1, 2011. This is touted as a major piece of business-friendly legislation.

Read the court’s opinion here: Public Act 097-0018

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