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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Risk of Working in a Factory

A Federal Court in NJ has dismissed a civil action for intentional tort brought by an injured worker against the employer. 

The Court held that an employee must meet a two-prong test to prove an intentional wrong. First, the employee must prove that the employer’s action created a virtual certainty of injury. Secondly, the injury must not merely be an ordinary fact of life in the industrial environment, and the activity is one that the legislature intended to immunize.


The Court reasoned that the failure of a co-worker’s negligence to perform a task is a “well-known risk in working in a plant of factory” and does not overcome the workers’ compensation bar to institute a civil action against an employer. 


“Enacted in 1911, the WCA ‘accomplished a ‘historic trade-off whereby employees relinquished their right to pursue common law remedies in exchange for automatic entitlement to certain, but reduced, benefits whenever they suffered injuries by accident arising out of and in the course of employment.’  Van Dunk v. Reckson Assocs. Realty Corp., 45 A.3d 965, 970–71 (N.J. 2012) (quoting Millison v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 501 A.2d 505, 512 (N.J. 1985)).  When, by either express or implied agreement, the parties have accepted the provisions of the [WCA], the agreement operates as an employee's surrender of other forms of remedies.” Id. at 971 (citing N.J.S.A. 34:15-8). ‘In exchange for immunity from liability, the [WCA] requires the employer to provide swift and certain payment, without regard to fault, to employees for workplace injuries.’ Id.”


The second amended complaint was dismissed without prejudice. The Court granted allowance to the injured worker to file a third amended complaint to define why the co-employee’s alleged negligence met the two parts of the second prong of the criteria to file a claim.


Paracha v. Darlingt Ingredients Inc, Civil Action No. 20-4902, 2022 WK 909926, Slip Opinion, March 29, 4902. (DC NJ 2022). Unpublished Decision. 

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L.,  The Risk of Working in a Factory, Workers' Compensation Blog, Mar  30, 2022), 

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

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LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters