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Bob Carroll
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The Lastest Worst Workers' Compensation Decision

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The New York Times reports on a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that makes no sense under the no-fault-based workers’ compensation system in that state and in Florida.

Ohio Ruling Denying Pay in Job Injury Draws Debate

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a KFC franchise’s petition to deny workers’ compensation payments to a teenage boy who was severely burned while cleaning a pressure cooker, raising questions from lawyers and the dissenting judges about the basic no-fault tenet of the state’s workers’ compensation.

The majority in the 5-to-2 decision on Wednesday accepted the argument by the restaurant owner that the boy, David M. Gross, then 16, had voluntarily abandoned his job when he ignored repeated warnings not to boil water in the cooker to clean it. That meant he was not entitled to workers’ compensation payments because he no longer had a job when he was injured, the ruling said.

“This is the worst decision I’ve seen since I’ve been practicing law,” said Philip J. Fulton, a workers’ compensation lawyer and past president of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers. “It changes the whole substance of what workers’ compensation is supposed to be.”

I doubt Florida law would follow this ruling because it seems determined to use workers’ compensation as a shield for employers no matter how grossly negligent or reckless an employer may be. However, intoxication of an employee (as opposed to simply disobeying a rule) does create coverage issues.

I have had the terrible experience of losing a Florida case on behalf of a worker who had her arm ripped from her body by the gears of a carton-filling machine. I lost because a Florida Appellate Court concluded that even though the employer ordered the intentional removal of safety interlock systems on six giant carton-filling machines so that the machines could continue in operation while workers opened side doors to clear jams, workers’ compensation immunity from a civil lawsuit remained intact.

The New York Times reports on a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that makes no sense under the no-fault-based workers’ compensation system in that state and in Florida.

Ohio Ruling Denying Pay in Job Injury Draws Debate

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a KFC franchise’s petition to deny workers’ compensation payments to a teenage boy who was severely burned while cleaning a pressure cooker, raising questions from lawyers and the dissenting judges about the basic no-fault tenet of the state’s workers’ compensation.

The majority in the 5-to-2 decision on Wednesday accepted the argument by the restaurant owner that the boy, David M. Gross, then 16, had voluntarily abandoned his job when he ignored repeated warnings not to boil water in the cooker to clean it. That meant he was not entitled to workers’ compensation payments because he no longer had a job when he was injured, the ruling said.

“This is the worst decision I’ve seen since I’ve been practicing law,” said Philip J. Fulton, a workers’ compensation lawyer and past president of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers. “It changes the whole substance of what workers’ compensation is supposed to be.”

I doubt Florida law would follow this ruling because it seems determined to use workers’ compensation as a shield for employers no matter how grossly negligent or reckless an employer may be. However, intoxication of an employee (as opposed to simply disobeying a rule) does create coverage issues.

I have had the terrible experience of losing a Florida case on behalf of a worker who had her arm ripped from her body by the gears of a carton-filling machine. I lost because a Florida Appellate Court concluded that even though the employer ordered the intentional removal of safety interlock systems on six giant carton-filling machines so that the machines could continue in operation while workers opened side doors to clear jams, workers’ compensation immunity from a civil lawsuit remained intact.