Employer permitted to assert exclusivity defense despite denial of benefits
Fly & Form Inc. v. Marquez, No. 3D09-43 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 09/02/09).
The Florida District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's entry of summary judgment for the employee. The employer was entitled to the exclusivity defense under the workers' compensation statute.
What it means:
An employer's act of denying further benefits to an employee after discovering that the employee provided a fake Social Security number on his employment application does not bar the employer from asserting the exclusivity defense under the Workers' Compensation Act.
The employee was injured while working for the employer. The employer provided workers' compensation benefits, including medical and indemnity benefits, until it learned that the employee had used a fake Social Security number on his employment application and W-4 form. The employer stopped paying benefits. The employee sued the employer for negligence. The employer asserted it was immune from tort liability under the Workers' Compensation Act. The District Court of Appeal ruled that the exclusive remedy provision barred the employee's suit. The court explained that the employer was not estopped from asserting the exclusivity defense of the workers' compensation statute, even though it had denied the employee additional workers' compensation benefits.
Several months after it stopped paying benefits, the employer resumed payment of benefits, including outstanding temporary disability benefits. Because the employee had reached maximum medical improvement, he was paid for bodily impairment and the remaining medical bills.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
October 8, 2009
Copyright 2009© LRP Publications