(c) 2019 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Employment Relationship Essential Criteria for Jurisdiction

Petitioner, a New Jersey resident, sought benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act (WCA), N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -128, alleging injuries both as the result of a specific incident, and occupational injuries "while performing repetitive duties" as an aircraft technician while employed by United Airlines at the airport in Philadelphia. The judge of compensation dismissed both petitions for lack of jurisdiction.

Relying on dicta in Bunk v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 144 N.J. 176, 180-81 (1996), petitioner claimed residency alone was sufficient to confer jurisdiction. Alternatively, he argued that United's business was "localized" in New Jersey, and combined with his residency, New Jersey should exercise jurisdiction over his petitions.

The court affirmed the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, concluding the dicta in Bunk was not controlling, and residency alone is insufficient to confer jurisdiction. The court also concluded that although United maintained a "localized" presence in New Jersey, petitioner lacked any employment relationship to that presence.

RICHARD MARCONI VS. UNITED AIRLINES A-0110-18T4 Decided July 22, 2019 (NJ App Div 2019) Published Opinion

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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