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Since first published in 2018, NCCI’s Court Case Update has provided stakeholders with important and timely information on relevant workers compensation (WC) decisions that have impacted and shaped the system, reporting on over 200 cases. In 2022, NCCI’s Legal Division continued to report on the outcome of several cases that address different topics such as exclusive remedy, marijuana, air ambulance reimbursement, and COVID-19.
This report provides a high-level overview of the 46 cases reported on in 2022, grouped by topics.
Court challenges to the constitutionality and scope of exclusive remedy—providing employer immunity from injured employee tort suits—continues to be a closely watched topic among WC stakeholders. In 2022, we reported on decisions addressing the applicability of and exceptions to exclusive remedy.
2022 Exclusive Remedy Decisions:
- Idaho—Fulfer v. Sorrento Lactalis, Inc. (Supreme Court of Idaho)
- Illinois—Munoz v. Bulley & Andrews, LLC (Supreme Court of Illinois)
- Indiana—Johal v. FedEx Corp. (federal District Court for the Southern District of Indiana)
- Nebraska—Dutcher v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (Supreme Court of Nebraska)
- South Dakota—Althoff v. Pro-Tec Roofing, Inc. (Supreme Court of South Dakota)
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, NCCI began monitoring COVID-19-related cases with potential implications for WC insurance. Many of the cases to date have dealt with determinations of whether contraction of COVID-19 is work-related and therefore compensable, or the application of exclusive remedy where employees contract COVID-19 and sue their employers in tort. In 2022, we also saw courts consider the issue of whether an employer is liable in tort for injuries sustained by the spouse of an employee who allegedly contracted COVID-19 at work and spread it to the spouse at home.
2022 COVID-19 Decisions:
- California—See’s Candies, Inc. v. Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles (California Court of Appeals, Second District)
- California—Kuciemba v. Victory Woodworks (Supreme Court of California)
- Ohio—Yeager v. Arconic Inc. (Court of Appeals of Ohio)
- Texas—Garcia Rodriguez v. Blaine Larsen Farms, Inc. (federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas)
- Wisconsin—Ruiz v. Conagra Foods Packaged Foods, LLC (federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin)
Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic at the state and federal levels for some time and in 2022 courts actively reviewed marijuana-related issues in WC and the workplace, with varying outcomes across the states.
Marijuana in WC 2022 Decisions:
- Mississippi—Meek v. Cheyenne Steel, Inc. (Mississippi Court of Appeals)
- New Mexico—Barrozo v. Albertson’s, Inc. (Court of Appeals of New Mexico)
Marijuana and the Workplace 2022 Decisions:
- Nevada—Ceballos v. NP Palace, LLC (Supreme Court of Nevada)
- Nevada—Freeman Expositions, LLC v. The Eighth Judicial District Court for the State of Nevada (Supreme Court of Nevada)
- New Hampshire—Paine v. Ride-Away, Inc. (Supreme Court of New Hampshire)
Air Ambulance Reimbursement
Courts have continued to review cases addressing whether state WC laws limiting air ambulance billing rates are preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA). In 2022, we reported on cases in two states, Texas and Kansas, addressing issues related to this topic.
2022 Air Ambulance Decisions:
- Kansas—EagleMed, LLC v. Travelers Insurance (Supreme Court of Kansas)
- Texas—PHI Air Medical, LLC v. Texas Mutual Insurance Co. (Court of Appeals of Texas)
Additional State and Federal Developments
Across the states and at the federal level, courts have continued to consider cases that could impact the WC system and its stakeholders. These cases address issues such as compensability, constitutional challenges to WC laws, benefits, and attorney fees, to mention a few.
- Constitutional Challenge to Presumption of Compensability for Federal Contractors, United States v. Washington (United States Supreme Court)
Northeastern Zone Cases
- Maryland—Statutory Offset of Benefits, Spevak v. Montgomery County (Court of Appeals of Maryland)
- Maryland—Evidence Required for Certain Claims, United Parcel Service v. Strothers (Court of Appeals of Maryland)
- Rhode Island—Parking Lot Injuries, Phillips v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. of Rhode Island, LLC (Supreme Court of Rhode Island)
Southeastern Zone Cases
- Alabama—Statutory Period for Challenging a Benefit-Review Agreement, Ex Parte American Cast Iron Pipe Co. (Supreme Court of Alabama)
- Arkansas—Statute of Limitations for Benefits, Wynne v. Liberty Trailer (Arkansas Supreme Court)
- Florida—Entitlement to PTSD Benefits, Wyatt v. Polk County Board of County Commissioners (First District Court of Appeal of Florida)
- Florida—Injuries Suffered While Traveling From Work, Kelly Air Systems, LLC v. Kohlun (First District Court of Appeal of Florida)
- Florida—Jurisdiction Over Prohibited Debt Collection Practices, Laboratory Corporation of America v. Davis (Florida Supreme Court)
- Florida—Prospective Application of Firefighter Benefits Statute, Weaver v. Volusia County (Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida)
- Florida—Statutory Immunity, Bal Harbour Tower Condominium Association, Inc. v. Bellorin (Third District Court of Appeal of Florida)
- Kentucky—Reopening a WC Claim, Lakshmi Narayan Hospitality Group Louisville v. Jimenez (Supreme Court of Kentucky)
- Louisiana—Compensability of Fall Injuries, Woodard v. Brookshire Grocery Co. (Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit)
- Louisiana—Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in WC,
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