Compliance

Injured Worker Denied Comp Can Sue Employer

By Staff Report

Mar. 29, 2010

An injured worker’s lawsuit alleging his employer committed fraud is not barred by the exclusive remedy provision of Oregon’s workers’ compensation law, a state appellate court has ruled.


The ruling Wednesday, March 24, by the Oregon Court of Appeals in Patrick J. Merten v. Portland General Electric Co. stemmed from an April 2003 work accident in which the employee fell from a power pole.


Merten filed a workers’ comp claim, which the employer denied, telling the worker it would open the claim once he submitted medical records documenting his injuries from the fall. However, once Merten’s right to request a hearing on the claims denial expired, Portland General Electric refused to open the claim even though he submitted the medical records, court records state.


The worker sued for fraud, alleging the employer never intended to open his injury claim and told him that it would do so only to prevent him from making a timely request for a hearing on the claims denial.


A trial court granted the employer’s request for summary judgment, agreeing that the workers’ comp exclusive remedy barred the claim.


On appeal, the Oregon appellate court found that the plaintiff’s fraud allegations did not arise from the course of his employment and the alleged fraud could not be compensated by the workers’ comp system.


“There is nothing in plaintiff’s employment that caused his alleged fraud damages,” the court ruled. “Those damages were caused by defendant’s intentional nonwork-related conduct.”


The court also ruled that “a reasonable juror could find that the plaintiff reasonably relied on the defendant’s misrepresentations.”  


 Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.


 


Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.


 

What’s New at Workforce.com?

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Compliance

Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

Compliance

Exempt vs. non-exempt employees: knowing the difference

Summary Employees are exempt from FLSA requirements when they meet specific exemption criteria based on...

Department of Labor, exempt employees, Misclassification, non-exempt employees

workforce blog

Compliance

California fast food workers bill: why it’s more than meets the eye and how to prepare

Summary: California signs bill establishing a “fast food council” that has the power to raise the indus...