Appeals Court Decides Economic-Reality Test Case Involving Labor Broker
On February 17, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its unpublished opinion in Etheridge v. JJ Curran Crane Co., No. 356775, 2022 WL 497352 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 17, 2022). This case involved a labor broker and the Exclusive Remedy provision of the Michigan Workers’ Disability Compensation Act (WDCA). The injured worker, Billy Etheridge, filed a civil lawsuit against the employer of a crane operator whose alleged negligence caused a crush injury to the worker’s hand. The Court of Appeals, agreeing with the lower court, held the injured worker’s civil case was barred by the exclusive-remedy provision, and his only recourse was to seek workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, Lawsuit, Workers' Compensation
Workers’ Comp Benefits Owed to Widow After Husband Fatally Injured While Driving to Educational Program
On April 1, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lewis v. LexaMar Corp., 971 N.W.2d 608 (Mich. 2022). This reversed a December 17, 2020 decision from the Court of Appeals, which we previously wrote about in this blog. In that case, the Court of Appeals declined to award workers’ compensation benefits to a widow whose husband was killed in a car accident while driving to a community college class paid for by his employer. The Supreme Court, by a 6-1 majority, reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision and ultimately affirmed the findings of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission awarding the widow benefits. Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, Workers' Compensation
Appeals Court Decides Social/Recreational Activity Case
On January 13, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its unpublished per curium opinion in the Estate of Allyn Taylor v Outdoor Adventures of Davison, LLC. This case involved the intersection of three of the most significant provisions within the Michigan’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act (WDCA): the exclusive remedy provision, the going to or coming from work provision, and the social or recreational activity provision. Read More ›
Categories: Lawsuit, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation
New Law Expands First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund
On November 30, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law House Bill 4171, which expanded eligibility under the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund. Read More ›
Categories: Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation
Michigan Legislature Considers New COVID-19 Presumption Bill
We have written extensively about changes to Michigan workers’ compensation law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes came in the form of several executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer and various emergency rules promulgated by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (“LEO”). LEO promulgated its first Emergency Rules on March 30, 2020. Those Rules established a rebuttable presumption that a “first response employee” who is diagnosed with COVID-19 sustained a compensable work-related injury. Thereafter, the Governor signed various executive orders having similar effect. Read More ›
Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Department of Labor, Legislative Updates
Can Work-Induced Stress Give Rise to a Workers' Compensation Claim?
The end of this article presents a trivia question. See the correct answer in the drop down at the bottom of the page.
Work can be stressful for many different reasons. Common stressors include a difficult boss, an unpleasant co-worker, and excessive workloads. A 2018 survey of approximately 2,000 professionals revealed that 76 percent of participants reported that stress at work had a negative impact on their personal lives. Of those surveyed, 65 percent reported losing sleep due to workplace stress, and 16 percent reported quitting a job due to stress. Read More ›
Categories: Did you Know?, Employment, Workers' Compensation
Compensability of a Work-Related Suicide Claim
In recent years, mental health issues and suicide have become increasingly prevalent among Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis. According to a CDC survey from June 2020, the pandemic has “considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions” in U.S adults. Data from the survey indicates that 42 percent of essential workers reported struggling with anxiety and/or depression. Most notably, 11 percent of all respondents seriously considered suicide within the preceding 30 days.
Overall, studies have shown that suicides related to workplace issues are on the rise, and the cause is often increased workplace stress and excessive workloads. Under what circumstances should the family of a worker who takes his or her own life be awarded workers’ compensation benefits? Below, we discuss a recent instructive case from Pennsylvania followed by an overview of how Michigan law handles this increasingly important issue. Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Workers' Compensation
New State Recreational Marijuana Law Hints at the Hazy Future of Workplace Drug Testing
Currently, there are 17 states (plus two United States territories and the District of Columbia) that permit the use of recreational marijuana. The trend across the country seems to be in favor of legalization of cannabis-related products for both medicinal and recreational use. As that trend continues and the use of recreational marijuana increases, we anticipate new challenges will arise for employers and their insurance carriers. For instance, how will this trend impact post-injury drug screenings?
If the use of recreational marijuana is legal in a given jurisdiction, will it remain permissible for an employer to terminate an employee based solely on a positive drug screening? Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, Employment, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation
The Compensability of After-Hours Work Injuries
Recently, several clients have posed questions regarding the compensability of after-hours injuries that occur on the employers’ premises. While the compensability of these injuries is often in the “grey area,” your determination will be heavily dependent upon the facts of each situation.
What follows is a brief overview of the prevailing case law and a basic framework for making a compensability decision in these types of scenarios. Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, Workers' Compensation
Impact of COVID on Michigan’s Workers’ Comp Law
This month's 2nd Wednesday Morning Break addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Michigan Workers' Compensation law. In this episode, host and attorney Patricia Scott interviews fellow attorney Alicia Birach on how the pandemic has affected premiums, case progression and the nature of work injuries, including injuries arising from remote work. Read More ›
Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Workers' Compensation