On August 19, 2020, the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in
United States v. Washington, affirmed a federal district court decision upholding the constitutionality of a Washington workers compensation statute that creates a presumption of compensability for certain types of diseases contracted by federal contractors working at the Hanford federal nuclear cleanup site.
The court rejected the federal government’s argument that the workers compensation statute violated the federal intergovernmental immunity doctrine, which invalidates state laws that seek to regulate the United States directly or discriminate against the federal government and those with whom it deals. The court further concluded that the workers compensation statute falls within the scope of a federal law (40 U.S.C. § 3172) that authorizes the states to regulate workers compensation on federal land to the same extent that the states can regulate on nonfederal land.
NCCI will monitor for further developments.
For more information on other cases monitored by NCCI’s Legal Division, visit previous Court Case Updates and
Court Case Insights, under the
Legal section of
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