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.
Cases: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 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.
Cases: 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 PanaggioNew 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.
Cases:Kansas—Eaglemed, LLC v. Travelers InsuranceTexas—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
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.
Cases: 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
Challenges to the constitutionality and scope of exclusive remedy continued as a hot topic in 2018 among workers compensation stakeholders and in the courts.
Cases: California—King v. CompPartners, Inc. Florida—Progressive Waste Solutions v. BrittMontana—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.
Cases: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 CaseMissouri—Enhanced Mesothelioma Benefits,
Accident Fund Insurance Co. v. CaseySouth Dakota—Agricultural Worker Exclusion,
Bangtson v. Charles Baker Trucking, LLCTexas—Waiver of the Right to Recover From Others,
Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co. v. WedelVermont—Coverage for Interns,
Lyons v. Chittenden Central Supervisory Union
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