Court Case Update, Countrywide - 2018 Year-End Summary
By NCCI Insights December 18, 2018

This Court Case Update provides a look at some of the cases and decisions monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division in 2018, which may impact and shape the future of workers compensation across the states.

Challenges to Third-Party Guides (AMA/ODG)

Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2017 decision striking statutory use of the “most recent edition” of the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides in Protz v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, challenges to the AMA Guides and other third-party guides have continued to pop up in courts across the states throughout 2018.

Kansas—Johnson v. US Food and Pardo v. UPS
Oklahoma—Hill v. American Medical Response
Texas—Holt v. Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation

Marijuana Developments

Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic at the state and federal levels for some time, and this year was no exception. Courts across the country remain actively engaged in reviewing marijuana-related issues in workers compensation and the workplace.

Arizona—Terry v. UPS, Inc.
Connecticut—Petrini v. Marcus Dairy, Inc.
Maine—Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co.
Montana—Carlson v. Charter Communications
New Hampshire—Appeal of Andrew Panaggio
New Jersey—McNeary v. Township of Freehold
Oklahoma—Rose v. Berry Plastics Corp.
Vermont—Hall v. Safelite Group, Inc.

Air Ambulance Reimbursement

In 2018, state and federal courts largely found that the federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA) preempts states workers compensation laws that establish air ambulance reimbursement rates; however, there are still several cases yet to be decided. Proposed legislation at the federal level (S.471), that would preserve states’ authority to regulate air ambulance billing, remains pending.

Kansas—Eaglemed, LLC v. Travelers Insurance
Texas—Air Evac EMS, Inc. v. State of Texas, Department of Insurance and PHI Air Medical, LLC v. Texas Mutual Insurance Co.
West Virginia—Air Evac EMS, Inc. v. Cheatham

Attorney Fees

Since both the Florida Supreme Court (Castellanos v. Next Door Company) and the Utah Supreme Court (Injured Workers Association of Utah v. State of Utah) ruled that their respective attorney fee schedules were unconstitutional in 2016, courts throughout the country have continued to review questions as to fee schedules that cap attorney fees in workers compensation.

Alaska—Burke v. Raven Electric, Inc.
Arkansas—Arkansas Game and Fish Commission v. Gerard
Florida—Willoughby v. Madison Correction Institute and Portu v. City of Coral Gables
Maryland—Cleary v. Maryland Workers Compensation Commission
West Virginia—Bandy v. Murray American Energy

Exclusive Remedy

Challenges to the constitutionality and scope of exclusive remedy continued as a hot topic in 2018 among workers compensation stakeholders and in the courts.

California—King v. CompPartners, Inc.
Florida—Progressive Waste Solutions v. Britt
Montana—Ramsbacher v. Jim Palmer Trucking
Nevada—Baiguen v. Harrah’s Las Vegas, LLC
Oklahoma—Strickland v. Stephens Production Co.
South Carolina—Matthews v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co.
Texas—Berkel & Company Contractors, Inc. v. Lee and Berry Contracting, L.P. v. Mann

Additional State and Federal Developments

State and federal courts have been considering cases that test the constitutionality of workers compensation provisions or raise issues that could impact the workers compensation system.

Federal—Black Lung Benefits Award, Freestone Coal Co. v. Director, Office of Workers Compensation Programs
Iowa—Compensability of Idiopathic Injuries, Bluml v. Dee Jay’s Inc.
Kentucky—Constitutional Challenges to Workers Compensation Statutes, Doctors Hospital of Augusta, LLC v. Commonwealth of Kentucky and Napier v. Enterprise Mining Co.
Massachusetts—Misclassification, Ives Camargo’s Case
Missouri—Enhanced Mesothelioma Benefits, Accident Fund Insurance Co. v. Casey
South Dakota—Agricultural Worker Exclusion, Bangtson v. Charles Baker Trucking, LLC
Texas—Waiver of the Right to Recover From Others, Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Wedel
Vermont—Coverage for Interns, Lyons v. Chittenden Central Supervisory Union

​This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. Use of this article for any purpose other than as set forth herein is strictly prohibited.