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ANNUAL MEETING 2013ST. LOUIS, MO
Annual Meeting 2013
THREE CONTEMPORARY ISSUESDavid B. TorreyAdjunct Professor of LawUniversity of Pittsburgh School of LawPittsburgh, PA
Annual Meeting 2013
(#1) INCREASING USE OF COMPROMISE SETTLEMENTSTraditional CONCERNS:Employer Over-reachingDissipation of FundsCost-Shifting
Annual Meeting 2013
~Classic quote: “Patently, the purpose of throwing safeguards around the employee in commutation cases is to insure him against his own improvidence, to the end that he will not experience the horrific metamorphosis of being Croesus on Saturday night and a mendicant on Monday morning.”State v Florida Industrial Comm’n, 151 So.2d 636 (S. Ct. FL 1963).
Annual Meeting 2013
~States with recent liberalization:WEST VIRGINIA (1995)PENNSYLVANIA (1996)NEW YORK (1996)FLORIDA (2001)NEW MEXICO (2009)WASHINGTON (2011)
Annual Meeting 2013
~Questioning Compromise SettlementsWORKERS’ PERSPECTIVESON SETTLEMENTS AND HEARINGSby Brian Zaidman, William Boyer, and David BerryMinnesota Dep’t of Labor & Industry. 2013Available on-line at:http://www.dli.mn.gov/RS/Pdf/settlement_study.pdf.
Annual Meeting 2013
(#2) COMPENSABILITYOF TELECOMMUTING INJURIESThe critical issue for workers’ comp:Did the injuryarise out ofthe employment?Did the injury occurin the course ofemployment?(Intertwined considerations)
Annual Meeting 2013
TELECOMMUTING:DEFINITION FOR WC PURPOSESA worker(1) engaged in an employee-employer relationship;(2) who is laboring, by design, at his or her home office part or all of the regular work week, as some sort of alternative work arrangement.(Contrast: voluntarily taking work home)
Annual Meeting 2013
PrecedentsUTAH (AE Clevite): District Sales ManagerPENNSYLVANIA (Verizon): Systems EngineerTENNESSEE (American Cancer Society):Dir., Health Initiative and Strategic PlanningOREGON (J.C. Penney): Interior DecoratorPENNSYLVANIA (Greenleaf Service Corp.):International Sales ManagerNEW JERSEY (AT&T): “Salaried Manager”
Annual Meeting 2013
The “underdeveloped” area:Travel by the telecommuter1. Travel on regular office days2. Directives to report on home-office days3. Errands away from home office4. Problem of “dual purpose” trips
Annual Meeting 2013
(#3) RETRACTIVE REFORMAND THE “DUAL DENIAL” SITUATIONCan a legislature limit theworkers’ compensation remedy to such an extent that access to courts is violated?
Annual Meeting 2013
Statutes that fail to compensate a particular aspect of harm, or limit procedurally a right, have long been held legitimate and not an exception to the exclusive remedy:E.g.,Hyett v. Northwestern Hosp.(MN 1920)Kline v. Arden Verner(PA 1983).Weldon v. Celotex(3rdCir. 1982).
Annual Meeting 2013
Statutes that completely deny any right of compensation may run afoul of “Open Courts” constitutional provisions or otherwise implicate a due process denial….
Annual Meeting 2013
Smothers v. Gresham Transfer, Inc., 23 P.3d 333 (Oregon 2001) (noting that the “principle that the law makes available a remedy for injury to person, property, or reputation comes from the common law. The phrasing of remedy clauses that now appear in the Bill of Rights of the Oregon Constitution and 38 other states traces to Edward Coke's commentary, first published in 1642, on the second sentence of Chapter 29 of the Magna Carta of 1225.”).
Annual Meeting 2013
Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, ___ So.3d ___ (Florida 1stDist. Ct. Appeals 2013), 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 3203 (reconsideration granted) (limitation of TTD to 104 weeks “cannot comport with any legal or natural notion of justice. It does not comport  with a notion of legal justice, because it violates [claimant’s] state constitutional right of access to courts, and it violates his right to the administration of justice ‘without . . . denial or delay,’ under article I, section 21, of the Florida Constitution.”).

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ANNUAL MEETING 2013 - _.com