Showing 18 posts by Michael A. Cassar.
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On February 17, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its unpublished opinion in Etheridge v. JJ Curran Crane Co., No. 356775, 2022 WL 497352 (Mich.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On January 13, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its unpublished per curium opinion in the Estate of Allyn Taylor v Outdoor Adventures of Davison, LLC.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
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
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
COVID-19: Is It An Occupational Disease or Personal Injury – And Does It Really Even Matter?
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide. At the time of this article being published, there have been nearly 28,000,000 cases and over 485,000 deaths in the United States. Over 600,000 cases and almost 16,000 deaths have occurred in Michigan, alone.
In response to the pandemic, many jurisdictions have implemented various Emergency Rules and Orders to all but ensure compensability for certain delineated essential, frontline and first response employees who contract COVID-19. Other states, like Illinois, have enacted actual legislation that similarly relaxes the burden of proving compensability for some of these favored workers. We have written about these Rules, Orders, and legislation on several occasions over the course of the last year. You can read our most recent article on this topic here. Read More ›
Categories: Case Law Updates, COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation
Court of Appeals Rules: Employee Fraud was Never a Condition for Recoupment Action
The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion discussing the retroactivity of a prior opinion regarding the right of employers and insurance carriers to seek recoupment of benefits overpaid to an injured worker in the absence of fraud by the worker. Norman Carson v Bandit Industries Inc and Acuity Mutual Insurance Co, __ Mich App _ (2020). Read More ›
Categories: Fraud & Abuse, Insurance, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation
COVID-19 Related Paid Leave Tax Credits Extended Into 2021
The federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA was intended to provide support to workers who were unable to work while complying with government-mandated quarantines following exposure to COVID-19 or while taking care of someone else in quarantine. The law required employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to pay certain employees Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family Medical Leave and/or Expanded Emergency Family and Medical Leave (together, “FFCRA Leave”) as more fully described below. Read More ›
Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Employment, Workers' Compensation