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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Injured Workers Assert Class Action Claiming Wal-Mart Violated RICO Act

Several injured Wal-Mart workers' have claimed that the company, in defending their workers' compensation claims, violated the Federal RICO Act. The employees of Wal-Mart have alleged that the company conspired with the insurance carrier and claims adjuster to "dictate, withhold, delay, deny and/or interfere with" the type and duration of their medical care.

The employees have filed a motion for class action certification in their Federal RICO claim against: Wal-Mart, Concentra Health Services, Claims Management, Inc. and Home Assurance Co. (the workers' compensation insurance carrier). The complaint alleges the defendants' activity violated the Colorado's Consumer Protection Act [Colo. Rev. Stat. Section 6-1-105(1)(b),(c),(e) and (u)], and that there were also violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act [18 U.S.C. Sec. 1961-1968.] The Class Action Complaint was filed on March 24, 2009. Gianzero v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , et al., US DCT (D. Colorado) No. 09-cv-00656 REB BNB.

Wal-Mart's workers' compensation has been critically reviewed in the Seattle Weekly. The publication indicates that the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, in an Order, indicated that, .... “Over the last seven years, Wal-Mart has “repeatedly and unreasonably” delayed giving injured workers the benefits they were owed under workers’ compensation laws, and, in some cases, Wal-Mart employees were not allowed to file workers’ comp claims at all.”

The expansion of RICO actions arising out of workers' compensation claims is an issue to be addressed by the US Supreme Court should two pending Petitions for Certiorari be granted in other pending matters. See the Workers' Compensation Blog for additional articles on this topic.

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