CBIA, IAC File Amicus Brief in Workers’ Compensation Case
CBIA and the Insurance Association of Connecticut filed a joint amicus brief in the State Appellate Court Jan. 27 opposing a legal challenge to the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
CBIA and IAC are represented by attorneys Dana Hrelic, Monte Frank, and Meagan Cauda from the law firm Pullman and Comley, LLC.
The case, Harold Dusto et al. v. Rogers Corporation et al., is an appeal arising from the trial court’s judgment granting the Rogers Corporation’s motion for summary judgment.
The exclusivity provision of Connecticut’s Workers’ Compensation Act is a bar to civil actions brought by employees against employers for job related injuries.
There is, however, one narrow circumstance where an employee can also bring a civil action in addition to a claim for workers’ compensation—called the “substantial certainty” exception—that exists when the employer has committed an intentional tort where it can be shown they intended to injure the employee.
Expanded Scope, Reach
Plaintiff Dusto’s appeal, at its core, seeks to expand the reach and scope of the substantial certainty exception to the exclusivity provision of the act by arguing that it was designed to include, or otherwise should be read to include, injuries sustained due to violations of safety regulations even where there is no evidence the employer intended the resulting injury or knew the harm was substantially certain to occur.
CBIA’s counsel argues that not only is Dusto’s argument contrary to well-settled precedent, it also contravenes the purpose of the act.
The act was designed to represent a trade-off between employer and employee rights.
Under the act, the employee benefits by no longer having to prove negligence on the part of the employers, but in return, the employee has to accept a limited, although certain, recovery.
The employer, in turn, guarantees compensation to an injured employee in return for exclusivity of the workers’ compensation liability to its employees.
To expand the purview of the exclusivity provision, as Dusto suggests, defeats the purpose of the act by providing no real benefit to employers, rendering obsolete the trade-off and balance between employer and employee interests and rights.
CBIA vice president of public policy Eric Gjede said “the Workers’ Compensation Act is incredibly important to the state’s business community.”
“Connecticut employers have created some of the safest workplaces in the country for their employees,” he said.
“We hope the Appellate Court will uphold the lower court’s ruling and maintain the important legal and political balance of the exclusivity provision of the act.”
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