The Sixth Court of Appeals (Texarkana) reviewed the lower court’s actions in granting Defendant’s traditional and no-evidence summary judgment. The traditional portion argued, in part, that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court of Appeals found the lower court’s actions were proper but only discussed the no-evidence summary judgment.
The Texas Supreme Court reaffirmed that, while a narrow common-law exception to the exclusive remedy in fatal work-related injuries exists, the exception requires that “the employer must believe that its actions are substantially certain to result in a particular injury to a particular employee, not merely highly likely to increase overall risks to employees in the workplace.” The Court specifically rejected a localized-area test which would implicitly define intent to include knowledge of dangerous conditions that will eventually cause an injury, if that knowledge is specific to a particular time and small class of individuals.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found that the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act does not create a non-subscriber cause of action against an employer, but merely modifies aspects of it. Thus, the Court concluded that Plaintiff’s non-subscriber negligence claim against Defendant arises from Texas common law and may be removed to Federal Court.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that the defendant-employer in a non-subscriber case is entitled to receive a dollar-for-dollar credit in an amount equal to plaintiff’s settlement with co-defendants pursuant to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.012. The Court further found that the defendant-employer is entitled to receive an offsetting credit for payments made pursuant to a wage replacement and medical expense reimbursements plan.
The Eleventh Court of Appeals (Eastland) found that the lower court did not have jurisdiction over disputed medical bills because the injured worker failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under “old-law.” Specifically, the Court stated that the injured worker was required to submit to the Division any claim that the insurance carrier delayed the payment of, or refused to pay, any medical expenses for services provided. The Court did find that the lower court had jurisdiction as to common law and statutory claims related to performance under the CSA, request for an accounting of the attorney’s fees paid pursuant to the CSA, and request for enforcement of the CSA on the ground that medical services are still required.
The First Court of Appeals (Houston) found that the trial court is “limited to issues decided by the appeals panel and on which judicial review is sought.” The court further found that because the record contains no evidence of causation, the trial court did not err in granting a no-evidence summary judgment motion as to extent of injury claims.
The Thirteenth Court of Appeals (Corpus Christi) found that the insurance carrier for a subcontractor had no duty to defend and indemnify a general contractor for claims by the subcontractor’s injured employee.
The Fourth Court of Appeals (San Antonio) held that the trial court erred in granting the non-subscriber employer’s plea to the jurisdiction. The Fourth Court reasoned that there was an issue of material fact surrounding the location of employee’s contract for hire, and the Michigan Bureau of Workers’ Compensation may not have exclusive jurisdiction.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found that the Defendant was entitled to summary judgment because of the exclusive remedy provided by Section 408.001(a) of the Texas Labor Code. Specifically, the Court found that the Defendant was a client of a temporary employment service and was designated as an alternate employer on the temporary employment service’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.