Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds Immunity of an Employer Where Plaintiff Claims Covered By Worker's Compensation

In the case of Franczyk v. Home Depot, Inc., No. 11 WAP 2022 (Pa. April 19, 2023) (Op. by Wecht, J.) (Todd, C.J, concurring), the court addressed immunity provided to employers in personal injury civil litigation matters given the employer’s exposure to worker’s compensation recoveries.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirmed that the worker’s compensation system is a compromise that, in exchange for a no-fault insurance system, employers are granted immunity from tort liability for workplace injuries.

The court reiterated that, where worker’s compensation is available, such compensation is the exclusive remedy for an injured party against their employer.

The worker’s compensation statute precludes virtually any sort of negligence claim against the employer “on account” a physical injury that occurs in a workplace.

In this matter, the court found that a Plaintiff could not sue his employer for allegedly failing to investigate a dog bite that occurred at the place of employment and thereby obstructing the Plaintiff’s ability to bring a claim against the customer who owned the dog.

The court found that the plain language of the exclusivity clause under the Worker’s Compensation Act barred this action.  None of the exceptions were found to apply.

The court otherwise noted that employers have no general duty to protect and preserve the interests of their employees relative to a possible personal injury action.

Given that the Plaintiff in this matter was seeking a recovery of the same damages from the same injury that occurred in a workplace, the claim was found to be precluded from the Worker’s Compensation Act.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Concurring Opinion by Chief Justice Todd can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Reed Smith law firm in Philadelphia for bringing this case to my attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.