California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Workers Compensation

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Injuries Sustained By Professional Stuntman Were Covered By Workers’ Compensation

Caso v. Nimrod Productions, Inc., 163 Cal App. 4th 881 (2008) Christopher Caso, a professional stuntman, suffered severe head injuries while performing a stunt during the production of a television show. Caso and his wife (who sought damages for loss of consortium) sued defendants (the director and the stunt coordinators and their respective loan-out corporations) … Continue Reading

Employee’s Stress Resulting From Co-Workers’ Negative Reactions To Her Is Not Compensable

Verga v. WCAB, 159 Cal. App. 4th 174 (2008) Rosemary Verga sought workers’ compensation benefits for an alleged psychiatric injury she sustained while working for United Airlines. However, the WCAB found Verga was not actually subjected to harassment or persecution. Instead, she was “a difficult person to get along with [who was] impolite, unpleasant, and … Continue Reading

Ranger Who Was Injured In Residence Provided By State Was Limited To Workers’ Compensation Remedies

Vaught v. State, 157 Cal. App. 4th 1538 (2007) Marck Vaught was employed as a resource ranger for the State. His position required him to be on call “all the time.” As an inducement to accept the position, the State offered Vaught and his wife the use of a residence located in the district in … Continue Reading

90-Day Period For Employer To Deny Workers’ Compensation Liability Runs From Date Claim Was Filed

Honeywell v. WCAB, 35 Cal. 4th 24 (2005) William Wagner, a sheet metal specialist for Honeywell, claimed work-related injuries to his body and psyche due to employment. On July 20, 1998, Wagner made statements that management was prejudiced against him and hampered his promotion and transfer, that he could not “take it anymore,” and that … Continue Reading

Settlement Of Workers’ Compensation Claim Did Not Bar Civil Lawsuit For Harassment And Discrimination

Mitchell v. Union Central Life Ins. Co., 118 Cal. App. 4th 1331 (2004) Dorothy Wimberly Mitchell worked for The Union Central Life Insurance Company for 27 years before she allegedly became physically ill as a result of harassment and discrimination that she suffered at work. In December 1999, Mitchell filed a civil lawsuit for, among … Continue Reading

Off-Duty Employee Injured On Employer’s Water Slide Was Entitled To $4.4 Million Judgment

Mason v. Lake Dolores Group, LLC, 117 Cal. App. 4th 822 (2004) James Mason was rendered a paraplegic after he rode down the “Doo Wop Super Drop” water slide and crashed into a dam at the end of the slide that was owned and operated by his employer, Lake Dolores Group (LDG). Shortly before the … Continue Reading

Employer Was Liable For Discriminating Against Employee Who Filed Workers’ Compensation Claim

Crown Appliance v. WCAB, 115 Cal. App. 4th 620 (2004) Crown Appliance petitioned the Court of Appeal for a writ of review, following a determination by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) that Crown had discriminated against its employee, Morton Wong, for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Wong sustained an industrial injury to his left … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered “Psychiatric Injury” Due To Fluctuations In Company’s Stock Was Not Entitled To Benefits

Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. WCAB, 114 Cal. App. 4th 1174 (2004) Clifford Bryan filed a workers’ compensation claim against Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) after he was forced to leave work in October 2001 due to the stress of his job in interacting with customers who did not like the company and … Continue Reading

Employee Who Had Worked Fewer Than Six Months Was Not Entitled To Benefits For Injury To Psyche

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. WCAB, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1435 (2003) Velta Elaine Garcia suffered an orthopedic injury to her back while employed by Wal-Mart. At the time of the injury, Garcia had worked at Wal-Mart for fewer than six months. Four years after the incident, Garcia amended her workers’ compensation claim to assert that … Continue Reading

Transportation Companies May Have Violated Law By Charging For Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Albillo v. Intermodal Container Services, Inc., 114 Cal. App. 4th 190 (2003) In this class action, the plaintiff-independent contractors (truck owners and owner-operators) sued Intermodal Container Services, Inc. and other freight transportation companies (the companies) for violation of Business & Professions Code § 17200, among other things, arising out of the companies’ charging the truckers … Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Act Bars Employee’s Malicious Prosecution And Loss Of Consortium Claims

Mosby v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 110 Cal. App. 4th 995 (2003) Freddie Curtis Mosby and his wife Sheri Mosby sued Freddie’s employer, Best Buy, and Best Buy’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, for malicious prosecution and loss of consortium after Liberty Mutual reported Mosby to the local district attorney for workers’ … Continue Reading

Employee’s Invasion Of Privacy Claim Was Not Barred By Workers’ Compensation Act

Operating Engineers Local 3 v. Johnson, 110 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2003) Bonita Vinson and her union, Operating Engineers Local 3, filed this lawsuit against Sylvia Johnson, the Chief Probation Officer of the County of Alameda and the county, alleging violation of Vinson’s right to privacy. Vinson alleged that Johnson had made an announcement at … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Discriminate By Requiring Injured Employee To Use Vacation and Sick Leave Benefits

State of Cal. Dep’t of Rehabilitation v. WCAB, 30 Cal. 4th 1281 (2003) Ronald Lauher worked as a rehabilitation counselor for the California Department of Rehabilitation for 25 years before submitting a claim for workers’ compensation benefits based on work-related stress and depression. After Lauher was diagnosed with Gerstmann’s Syndrome (a brain lesion that causes … Continue Reading

Employee’s Tort Claim Involving Undiagnosed Tumor Was Barred By Workers’ Compensation Act

Weber v. United Parcel Serv., 107 Cal. App. 4th 801 (2003) Gary Weber, who was employed as an aircraft mechanic for UPS, underwent periodic hearing tests in accordance with the company’s internal safety policies and the requirements of the California Code of Regulations. Eventually, the tests revealed that Weber was losing his hearing in his … Continue Reading

Employee Who Sued Uninsured Employer Failed To Prove That Injury Occurred In The Course Of Employment

Huang v. L.A. Haute, 106 Cal. App. 4th 284 (2003) Ai Zhen Huang was employed as a housekeeper at the home of Brad Hunter, but was on the payroll of L.A. Haute, a furniture manufacturing business in which Hunter was a partner. Huang was employed for approximately two years before her employment was terminated on … Continue Reading

Employer Must Have Actual Notice Of Employee’s Injury Before Duty To Provide Workers’ Compensation Form Arises

Honeywell v. WCAB, 104 Cal. App. 4th 829 (2002) The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (“WCAB”) found that Honeywell had breached its duty to provide its employee, William Wagner, with a workers’ compensation claim form after it became “reasonably certain” of Wagner’s alleged psychiatric injury. As a result, the WCAB held that the 90-day period to … Continue Reading

Employee Who Suffered Psychiatric Injury From Workplace Investigation Is Not Entitled To Workers’ Comp Benefits

Northrop Grumman Corp. v. WCAB, 103 Cal. App. 4th 1021 (2002) Robert C. Graves filed a workers’ compensation claim for psychiatric injuries he allegedly sustained following an investigation into his alleged racial discrimination against a subordinate employee whom he supervised at Northrop Grumman. The workers’ compensation judge (and the WCAB) found that the psychiatric injury … Continue Reading

Property Owner Not Liable For Injuries To Employee Of Subcontractor

Lopez v. C.G.M. Dev., Inc., 101 Cal. App. 4th 430 (2002) C.G.M. Development, Inc., a property owner, entered into a contract with Dekkon Development, Inc., a general contractor, to develop commercial property located in the City of Industry. Dekkon in turn entered into a subcontract with L&E Builders to frame the roof of the building. … Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Release Barred Sexual Harassment Claim

Jefferson v. California Dep’t of Youth Authority, 28 Cal. 4th 299 (2002) Mary Jefferson worked as a part-time teacher’s assistant at a high school. After the teacher and his students allegedly subjected Jefferson to sexually offensive conduct, she filed a workers’ compensation claim in which she sought benefits for “psychological factors affecting physical condition.” Jefferson … Continue Reading

Demoted Employee Was Not Entitled To Workers’ Compensation Benefits

City of Oakland v. WCAB, 99 Cal. App. 4th 261 (2002) David Gullet, a former employee of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department, was demoted from his position as Parks Supervisor II to Parks Supervisor I due to budgetary pressures facing the city. In response to the demotion, Gullet filed a workers’ compensation claim and … Continue Reading
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