Copyright

(c) 2022 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Pandemic Preparedness Experts

Pandemic Preparedness Experts
COVID Safe Workplaces
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query exclusivity. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query exclusivity. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Exclusivity Rule Adopted in MDL Aviation Law Case

Continental Connection Bombarder Q400 operated by Colgan Air
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) case pending in New York, a Federal Court ruled that the New Jersey law governing exclusivity of claims barred an employee from proceeding with an intentional tort claim against the employer. Despite the fact that the fatal plane crash occurred in New York, the Court adopted New Jersey law since the the employer was based in New Jersey, the employee was based in New Jersey and workers' compensation benefits were being paid under New Jersey law by a New Jersey based and claims unit in New Jersey.


The Exclusivity Doctrine bars an employee from filing a claim against his or her employer outside of workers' compensation. There are some limited exceptions to that rule such as intentional actions by the employer such as concealment of medical information and gross negligence. The workers' compensation act in the overwhelming majority of claims supersedes common law actions in tort and is the exclusive remedy for an injured worker against an employer. Dudley v. Victor Lynn Lines, Inc., 32 N.J. 479, 161 A.2d 479 (1960).  Kristiansen v. Morgan et al., 153 N.J. 298, 708 A.2d 1173 (1998).




The Court reasoned that under a New York conflict-of-laws analysis, the State of New Jersey, rather than New York, had a greater interest in the case. since the plaintiff failed to meet the two prong NJ test to circumvent the NJ exclusivity rule, the case was dismissed. 


In re Air Crash Near Clarence Center New York on February 12, 2009 v. Colgan Air, Inc., et al., # 09-md-2085, 10CV-10078, 2012 WL 1029530 (W.D.N.Y.) March 26, 2012

....
For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.


More on The Exclusivity Rule

Jun 13, 2012
Court Rules Site of Accident Invokes Exclusivity Rule. English: Motor vehicle accident following a ve... A NJ appeals court ruled that a motor vehicle accident cause by a co-worker in the emplyers' parking lot, before work had...
Jun 27, 2012
Willful OSHA Violation Alone Not Enough Alone to Circumvent the Exclusivity Doctrine. "New Jersey's Workers' Compensation Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -128.5, provides a prompt and efficient remedy for an employee's ...
Apr 09, 2010
A Federal Judge, who is managing the Multi-District Asbestos Litigation, has ruled that the exclusivity doctrine defeats the application of the dual capacity doctrine where the manufacturer's corporation was merged into the ...
Apr 23, 2012
The Exclusivity Rule: Under the circumstances of this case, which include a finding by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that the accident was the result of a “willful violation” of its regulations, did the ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Football Concussions – An Epidemic Failure of Safety


Story after story is now emerging of the tragedy of head concussions incurred during the sport of football. While the a battle is brewing over jurisdictional issues involving filing Workers’ Compensation claims in the State of California, a larger epidemic of product liability claims is now emerging against Riddell, the major manufacturer of football helmets.

The Sacramento Bee reported a sad story about Dan the Morann, the former San Francisco 49ers first draft pick, who suffered from tragic dementia.

One would think that workers’ compensation had some economic incentive to provide a safer workplace. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The workers’ compensation system was crafted  as a social insurance program to provide benefits to workers who were injured in the course of their employment, and a summary and expeditious fashion.  The cost of safety was never placed into the economic equation for workers’ compensation. 

The cost of workers’ compensation is theoretically to be passed upon the consumer as a cost of doing business. It is not a tool to encourage a safe workplace.

On the other hand, the civil justice system affords injured workers and their families another avenue to seek benefits by assessing punitive damages against the manufacturer suppliers and distributors of unsafe products. Unfortunately, very few jurisdictions permit claims against employers to circumvent the exclusive bar incorporated into most state workers’ compensation acts.

Perhaps, it is time to rethink the Worker’s Compensation program entirely and place it into a medical care delivery system that  really works and utilize the civil litigation system as a tool to enhance safety in the workplace to prevent future accidents from happening.
....
Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ, helping injured workers and their families for over 4 decades, is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). 

Read more about the “exclusivity bar” and Worker’s Compensation

Jul 11, 2012
In a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) case pending in New York, a Federal Court ruled that the New Jersey law governing exclusivity of claims barred an employee from proceeding with an intentional tort claim against the ...
Jun 13, 2012
Court Rules Site of Accident Invokes Exclusivity Rule. English: Motor vehicle accident following a ve... A NJ appeals court ruled that a motor vehicle accident cause by a co-worker in the emplyers' parking lot, before work had ...
Apr 09, 2010
A Federal Judge, who is managing the Multi-District Asbestos Litigation, has ruled that the exclusivity doctrine defeats the application of the dual capacity doctrine where the manufacturer's corporation was merged into the ...
Jun 27, 2012
Willful OSHA Violation Alone Not Enough Alone to Circumvent the Exclusivity Doctrine. "New Jersey's Workers' Compensation Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -128.5, provides a prompt and efficient remedy for an employee's ...

Monday, April 15, 2019

Payment under section 20 invokes the exclusivity bar even if the employer is uninsured


A lump sum payment under Section 20 of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law is deemed to be an employee’s complete surrender of rights and therefore it is the exclusive remedy and bars a negligence action.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Exclusivity Doctrine Not a Bar to Asbestos Claim Against an Employer Directly If Late Manifestation

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court permitted a civil action to go forward against an employer where the employee was exposed to asbestos fiber and contracted mesothelioma. The Court ruled that the latent manifestation, after the 300 week statutory period had lapsed and the Exclusivity Doctrine was not applicable.

The court held, "that claims for occupational disease which manifests outside of the 300-week period prescribed by the Act do not fall within the purview of the Act, and, therefore, that the exclusivity provision of Section 303(a) does not apply to preclude an employee from filing a common law claim against an employer."

Tooley v AK Steel Corporation
No. 21 WAO 2011, No. 22 WAP 20111, No. 23 WAP 2011
2013 Pa. LEXIS 2816
Decided: November 22, 2013

Ed Note: My thanks to Judge David B. Torrey for sharing this decision. Note the reference in the  Dissenting Opinion of Mr. Justice Saylor:
"8 David B. Torrey & Andrew E. Greenberg, Pennsylvania
Workers' Compensation Law & Practice §14.10 (3d ed. 2011) (expressing that Section 301(c)(2)'s time 
limitation constitutes a "substantive prerequisite to ascertainment of the compensability," intended 
to "establish, via arbitrary time basis, some outside limit to govern the potential  [*64] liability of the 
employer"). Accordingly, I would hold that the 300-week limitation in Section 301(c)(2) has no effect on 
whether a worker's occupational disease comes within the WCA's coverage. As such, the exclusivity 
mandate appearing in Section 303(a) of the statute applies, in my view, to preclude Plaintiffs from 
maintaining a negligence-based lawsuit against Employers.16"
….

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Parking Constitutes Arrival at Work

The employee parking lot on the campus of the ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A NJ Court of Appeals in a definitive statement about off-premises injuries, strongly affirmed the rule that when an employee arrives at am employer designated parking lot, the employee arrives at work. Even though the employee had exited the vehicle, and was injured while on a public street, the employer was held liable for the injuries under the workers' compensation act.

"Hence, we agree with the judge that when petitioner parked her car in the assigned garage, she was not coming to work, she had arrived there."

Monday, November 18, 2019

NJ Supreme Court to Review Application of Exclusivity Rule Between Social Remedial Legislation Acts

The NJ Supreme Court will review two social remedial legislative acts to determine whether the Exclusivity Rule is applicable. The workplace legislation is the Law Against Discrimination [LAD] and the Workers’ Compensation Act [WCA]. The Court will determine whether a LAD claim is barred by the exclusive remedy of the WCA. Mary Richter, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Oakland Board of Education, C-234 Sept.Term 2019, 2019 WL 5847242, Petition for Certification Granted NOVEMBER 4, 2019

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Exclusivity Rule: Police Officer Hired to Direct Traffic Was a Special Employee-Unpublished Opinion

A municipal police officer who was hired by a contractor to direct traffic at a construction site was determined to be a “special employee” and barred from suing a co-worker of the construction company. The NJ Appellate Court has held, in an unpublished opinion*, the  “Exclusivity Rule” barred the institution of a civil action against a co-worker.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Exclusivity Doctrine Shields an Employer-Manufacturer From Liability in Mesothelioma Claim

A Federal Judge, who is managing the Multi-District Asbestos Litigation, has ruled that the exclusivity doctrine defeats the application of the dual capacity doctrine where the manufacturer's corporation was merged into the employer's corporation. 


The employee was hired by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 1966 which merged into Agilent Technologies in 1999. In 1966 the employee, while working for HP, worked on asbestos containing products manufactured by F&M Scientific Company (F&M). F&M was acquired by HP in 1965. The employee ceased work in 2001 and ultimately died of mesothelioma on April 7, 2007.


The court reasoned that dual capacity, while it is an exception to the exclusivity doctrine, is not easily obtained.  The economic reality, the court reasoned, is that both companies were the same corporate entity due to the merger of the businesses. 


The Judge held that, "Workers’ compensation must remain the exclusive remedy for injuries sustained in the course of employment. When a corporate entity is simultaneously an employer and a manufacturer of harmful products, workers’ compensation serves to limit its tort liability with respect to its employees." 


Shamir v. Agilent, et al., MDL 875, Civil Action 08-76816, Decided April 5, 2010.


Click here to read about asbestos litigation.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

NJ Supreme Court Bars Expansion of Injured Workers Remedies

Additional tort claim disallowed against insurance companies for intentional failure to comply with court of compensation's, an administrative agency, order to provide provide benefits.

Wade Stancil v. ACE USA (067640)
Argued 3/26/12 Decided 8/1/12 see http://tinyurl.com/d4pycqw


SYLLABUS 

(This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court.  It has been prepared by the Office of the Clerk for the 

convenience of the reader.  It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court.  Please note that, in the 
interests of brevity, portions of any opinion may not have been summarized.) 

Wade Stancil v. ACE USA (A-112-10) (067640) 
Argued March 26, 2012 -- Decided August 1, 2012

HOENS, J., writing for a majority of the Court.
The Court considers whether an injured employee may sue his employer’s compensation carrier for pain and suffering caused by the carrier’s delay in paying for medical treatment, prescriptions, and other services. Plaintiff Wade Stancil was injured in 1995 while employed by Orient Originals.  He received workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s compensation carrier, defendant ACE USA (ACE).  In 2006, following a  trial, the court of compensation determined that Stancil was totally disabled.  In 2007, Stancil filed a motion in the compensation court seeking an order compelling ACE to pay outstanding medical bills.  

During a hearing on the motion, the compensation judge commented that ACE had a history of failing to make payments when ordered to do so.  On September 12, 2007, the compensation judge granted Stancil’s motion, warned ACE against any further violation of the order to pay, and awarded Stancil counsel fees.  On October 29, 2007, the parties returned to the compensation court for a further proceeding relating to the disputed bills.  After finding that the bills identified in the September 12 order remained unpaid and that ACE’s failure to make payment was a willful and intentional violation of the order, the court issued another order compelling ACE to make immediate payment and again awarding counsel fees.  

The court commented on its limited ability to ensure that carriers would comply with orders, noted that it lacked the authority to enforce orders through contempt proceedings, found that Stancil had exhausted his administrative remedies, and suggested that he seek further relief in the Superior Court.  In 2008, Stancil underwent additional surgery and psychiatric treatment.  Stancil’s physician attributed the need for additional treatment to an earlier treatment delay caused by the carrier’s delay in paying medical providers.  

On April 15, 2009, Stancil filed this lawsuit in the Superior Court.  In his complaint, Stancil claimed that ACE required him to undergo medical examinations by physicians of its own choosing and then rejected the recommendations of those physicians and refused to authorize the recommended medical care.  The complaint stated further that Stancil obtained orders from the compensation court, but ACE failed to comply.  Stancil contended that ACE’s failure to authorize needed treatment caused him unnecessary pain and suffering, a worsening of his medical condition, and expenses that should have been paid by ACE.  ACE responded by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint.  ACE argued that the Workers’ Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -142 (the Act), is the exclusive remedy for the claims pled in the complaint and therefore no damages could be awarded.  The trial court granted ACE’s motion.  The court analyzed the impact of then-recently adopted amendments to the Act and found that the Legislature had foreclosed resort to the Superior Court for the kind of tort-based relief demanded by Stancil.

The Appellate Division affirmed.  418 N.J. Super. 79 (App. Div. 2011).  The panel agreed with the trial court that The Legislature’s amendments to the Act foreclosed Stancil’s claims.  The panel also rejected Stancil’s argument that ACE’s willful disregard of compensation court orders met the Act’s intentional wrong exception to the litigation bar. The Supreme Court granted certification limited to determining whether an employee who suffered a work-related injury has a common-law cause of action for damages against a workers’ compensation carrier for its willful failure to comply with court orders compelling it to provide medical treatment when the delay or denial of treatment causes a worsening of the employee’s medical condition and/or pain and suffering.  207 N.J. 66 (2011).  

HELD:  An injured employee does not have a common law right of action against a workers’ compensation carrier for pain and suffering caused by the carrier’s delay in paying for or authorizing treatment because 1) the workers’ compensation system was designed to provide injured workers with a remedy outside of the ordinary tort or contract remedies cognizable in the Superior Court; 2) in amending the Workers’ Compensation Act in 2008, the Legislature rejected a provision that would have given the compensation courts broader permission to authorize a resort to the Superior Court and adopted a remedy that permits compensation courts to act through a contempt power; and 3) 2allowing a direct common-law cause of action against a carrier would undermine the workers’ compensation system by substituting a cause of action that would become the preferred manner of securing relief.

CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER, JUSTICE LaVECCHIA, and JUDGE WEFING (temporarily assigned) join  in JUSTICE HOENS’s opinion. JUSTICE ALBIN filed a separate, dissenting opinion. JUSTICE  PATTERSON did not participate.

Related Blog Articles

Aug 05, 2011
The lower court had rejected the case and dismissed it holding that the jurisdiction for bad faith is exclusively within the purview of the Division of Workers' Compensation. Stancil v. ACE USA, 418 N.J. Super. 79, 12 A. 3rd 223...
Apr 23, 2012
A-112-10 Wade Stancil v. ACE USA (067640). 3. The Exclusivity Rule: Under the circumstances of this case, which include a finding by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that the accident was the result ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Over 46% of High-risk Adults Are Endangered by Workplace Exposures to SARA-CoV2

A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week finds that workplace-exposures to SARS-CoV2 endanger, not only the workers but also imperil the lives of their household contacts. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Intentional Tort Claim Barred by the Exclusivity Rule

The New Jersey Workers Compensation Act (WCA), N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -146, generally prohibits employees from suing their employers for injuries sustained in workplace accidents. In a recent case the Court probed the boundaries of the "intentional wrong" exception to that general rule.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Top NJ Workers' Compensation Decisions of 2019

It has been an active 2019 for workers’ compensation decisions in New Jersey. There have been two NJ Supreme Court opinions and three reported Appellate Court opinions that are noteworthy. From a review of the pending docket the NJ Supreme Court will be reviewing at least 3 very significant issues in 2020 invoking workers’ compensation issues.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Exclusivity Rule: Court Holds Risk of Death Contemplated by Legislature

A NJ Appellate Court has ruled that the Exclusivity Bar prohibits the estate of a fatally injured trash truck driver from proceeding with an intentional tort claim against his employer. Even though the employer may have defeated the neutral safety switch and was cited for violations by OSHA, the Court ruled that the industry risk of being fatally injured was contemplated by the Legislature when promulgating the NJ Workers' Compensation Act.

Sellino v Pinto Brothers Disposal, Docket No. A-2064-12T1, 2013 WL 5300076 (Decided: September 23, 2013)

….

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Surveillance Video Barred as Belated Evidence

A New Jersey appellate court held that the trial court's decision to bar the admission of a surveillance tape into evidence was appropriate in a total disability claim, where the employer's attorney did not adhere to the administrative of rules concerning the offering of evidence. On the last day of a trial, the employer attempted to introduce a surveillance video of the of the employee on the basis that the tape would refute the injured worker's testimony that he could do nothing at home more than replace a lightbulb.


At the trial, Judge  Kenneth Kovalcik, exercising his judicial discretion, barred the use of the video as evidence. The court relied upon NJAC 12:235-3.11(a)(4)(i) that requires a pretrial memorandum must reflect that a party intends to utilize videos or other electronic media prior to trial. The defense argued that it was unable to comply with the administrative requirement because the video did not exist at the time the pretrial memorandum was submitted and that it was necessary to rebut the petitioner's testimony.

In affirming the trial judge, the appellate court reasoned that it was not an abuse of discretion to bar the use of the video. It reasoned that the belated surveillance tapes could not be admitted unless the employer could show that it was unaware, and could not have become aware, of the circumstances warranting the surveillance video before the hearing.

Marra v. Ryder Transportation Resources & Second Injury Fund, Docket No. A-5274-10T4, 2012 WL 2505731 (N.J.Super.A.D.), decided July 2, 2012.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Willful OSHA Violation Alone Not Enough Alone to Circumvent the Exclusivity Doctrine




"New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -128.5, provides a prompt and efficient remedy for an employee’s claim against an employer for a workplace injury. The Legislature made the statutory workers’ compensation remedy  its preferred mechanism for providing compensation to injured  workers......Based on the strong legislative preference for the workers’ compensation remedy and an intentional-wrong standard that even an employer’s recklessness and gross negligence fails  to satisfy, we hold that this matter falls short of demonstrating that an intentional wrong creating substantial certainty of bodily injury or death occurred. " Justice LaVecchia

A finding of a willful OSHA violation is not conclusive in determining whether the employer committed an intentional wrong for the purposes of the Workers' Compensation Act. Instead, it is one factor among the totality of circumstances to be considered. The issuance of a willful OSHA violation against employer (trench collapse injury) was insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment, so the Court examined the totality of the circumstances of the accident and applies the conduct and context prongs of the substantial-certainty standard.

In reviewing the substantial certainty of injury prong of the dual test to determine employer liability beyond workers' compensation, the court distinguished this case from all prior decisions by relying upon the fact that the employer did not intentionally remove a safety device. Noting that the employer's actions in this circumstance, failure to have a proper trench preventing collapse system in place, where the soil was poor in violation of OSHA provisions, did not eliminate the exclusivity of remedy. The court specifically indicated that an employer should not be mearly penalized for actions taken for economic business motivation.

Furthermore, the high threshold of the content prong of the test was not satisfied the court enunciate. "...The type of mistake in judgment by the employer and ensuing employee accident that occurred on this construction site was so far outside the bounds of industrial life has never to become contemplated for inclusion in the Act's exclusively bar," ie. mere violation of an OSHA safety requirements.