A construction worker was killed while operating a dump truck. When his death occurred, he was on loan from his employer to my client, also a construction company. Due to his death, the worker's family was entitled to death benefits under the Alabama workers' compensation statute. But which company had to pay the benefits? My client or his day-to-day employer? The answer hinged on the answers to a couple of tests. In Alabama an employer has different responsibilities for regular employees than it does for independent contractors or special employees. An employer may be held liable for the conduct of...
My thoughts on the status of the Alabama Workers' Compensation statute have been published in the "News and Updates" portion of the June 2017 issue of CLM Magazine (p. 57): "Trial Court Declares State Workers Compensation Statute Unconstitutional".
Ex parte Austal USA, LLC considers the narrow exception to the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act and the standard for a plaintiff to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Allegations of Intent-to-Injure Austal USA operates a shipyard in Mobile, Alabama that builds naval vessels. The plaintiffs are employees of Austal, each of whom was injured during his employment with Austal when using a Miller saw. In their third amended complaint, the plaintiffs alleged intentional misconduct against Austal, alleging Austal had provided the plaintiffs with a "dangerous and defective Miller saw with the specific intent that it would...
Ex parte Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc.: For venue purposes, pursuant to Alabama Code (1975) § 6-3-7(a)(3), proper venue is not established by the principal of an entity doing business in a particular county, rather than an agent. Facts and Contentions Keith Cantrell was a commercial driver for Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc ("Hibbett Sporting Goods"). During his employment, he was injured while in Indiana. Cantrell sued Hibbett Sporting Goods for workers' compensation benefits, bringing his claim in Lamar County, Alabama. Cantrell lived in Lamar County. Hibbett Sporting Goods filed a motion to transfer venue to Jefferson County, arguing that Lamar County was an improper venue,...
Ex parte Tenax Corp.: An analysis of the extension of exclusive-remedy provisions to a special employer, and when a temporary employee becomes a special employee for purposes of workers' compensation. A Fact Specific Situation In July 2014, John Dees sought employment from Tenax Corporation ("Tenax"). The general manager at the Tenax plant directed Dees to apply through Onin Staffing ("Onin") for the job at Tenax. Onin hired Dees, who began working at Tenax. In January 2015, while operating a machine in the line and scope of his employment, Dees injured his left arm. Dees worked at the Tenax plant continuously from...
An aggregation of the Alabama appellate court decisions affecting workers' compensation in 2016. The appellate courts in Alabama were busy hearing and deciding workers' compensation matters in 2016. Below is a synopsis of what happened related to workers' compensation this year. Follow each of the links for a brief of the cases. Ex parte Lincare Inc. and Angela Stewart: The Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusivity provision precludes a claim against the employer for an employee’s willful conduct. City of Birmingham v. Alex Thomas : A pension board is a separate entity from the municipality under certain conditions. Ex parte Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC: Under Alabama...
Ex parte Tidra Corporation – A trial court may only require a party to submit to a mental examination under Alabama Rule of Civil Procedure 35, if one of the parties has filed a motion requesting a mental examination and has made a good showing that it is necessary.
Augmentation, Inc. v. Debra Harris – Before refusing to pay for prescribed medical treatment, pursuant to a court order in a workers’ compensation case, the employer must conduct the appropriate investigation into the treatment’s reasonableness and necessity, or be subject to sanctions.
Tracy Page v. Southern Care, Inc. – Where an employer is liable to pay mileage expenses under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, the mileage costs to and from medical providers should be measured from the employee’s home.
Kennamer Bros., Inc. v. Ronney Stewart – TTD benefits are owed when an employee produces substantial evidence showing that his on-the-job accident caused his injury, and the amount to be paid is the state average weekly wage at the time of the injury.
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