Redskins' punter can collect benefits in Maryland despite contract terms
Case name: Pro-Football, Inc. v. Tupa, No. 29 September Term, 2011 (Md. 08/22/12).
Ruling: The Maryland Court of Appeals held that it had jurisdiction over a football player's claim and he suffered a compensable injury during the course of his employment.
What it means: A forum selection clause in an employment contract cannot waive a worker's right to receive workers' compensation benefits due in Maryland.
Summary: A professional football player played for a team that held its home games in Maryland. The company operating the team had its headquarters in Virginia, and most practices were held in Virginia. The company was incorporated in Maryland. During a pregame warm-up for a preseason game in Maryland, the player landed awkwardly after a punt and felt a sharp pain in his lower back. He immediately sought medical attention. Despite treatment with medication and physical therapy, his condition did not improve. He sought benefits. The Maryland Court of Appeals held that it had jurisdiction over the player's claim and that he suffered a compensable injury during the course of his employment.
The company argued that Maryland did not have jurisdiction over the player's claim because he was contractually bound to bring his workers' compensation claim in Virginia. The court found the Maryland workers' compensation law precludes an agreement that exempts an employer from paying workers' compensation benefits due in Maryland or waives the right of a worker to receive benefits due in Maryland. Therefore, the player's contract did not bar his claim.
The court also rejected the company's argument that the player did not suffer an "accidental personal injury." He was warming up for a game when he landed awkwardly and sought immediate medical treatment. The court pointed out that injured sustained by football players during practices or games are "routinely treated as compensable" in other states.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 12, 2012
Copyright 2012© LRP Publications