Page 22

BPI_BBAbulletin_15164_REV_op

named in the lawsuit and because there I would not be surprised to see this The corporate defendants answered was no allegation of negligent hiring, re- outrage lawsuit back before the appellate for Count V but moved to have the oth- taining or supervision in the lawsuit, there courts sometime in the future. For one, er four counts dismissed pursuant to the was no relevance between the outrage the allegations are novel, and they con- exclusivity provisions of the Act. The claim and general information contained cern utilization review issues that are be- workers argued that because the “claims in the personnel files of the employees. ing put to the test and questioned. Also, remaining in the case were factually in- The court went on to rule, however, that although the Alabama Court of Civil tertwined with the dismissed claims so as the following portions of the employee Appeals appeared to “split the baby” by to require that they proceed together to files could be discoverable: giving each side a little in its ruling, the a judgment,” the trial court exceeded its Any information contained in force and effect of this case pertaining to discretion in entering a final judgment. the employees’ personnel files that discovery is quite broad. The appellate court, however, refused to of Brunson’s workers’ compensation III.CO-EMPLOYEE judgment, stating that the dismissal of all handling final a of entry court’s trial the asideset their to relates specifically claim, any information regarding LAWSUITS fendants are named removes the issues of de- corporate the which in counts tortthe assess to received they trainingany medical necessity or to deny Ala- The only exception to Alabama’s compensatory and punitive damages from bama workers’ compensation medical workers’ compensation exclusivity pro- the action and negates the prospect that claims on grounds other than those vision is that co-employees have no im- the corporate defendants will be required set out in this state’s applicable laws munity for injuries caused by their willful to wait for an available jury docket before and regulations, and any information conduct.7 In Hudson v. Renosol Seating, a judgment concluding their participation that they received incentives, rewards, LLC, the plaintiffs attempted to carve out in the action can be entered. Additionally, or the like for furthering the alleged another exception, the intentional tort the dismissal greatly narrows the scope of unlawful scheme to deny Alabama exception, to the exclusivity provisions in the issues to be litigated between the work- workers’ compensation medical ben- Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Act. ers and the corporate defendants. efits to injured workers in this state. Plaintiffs, a group of factory employees, Concerning the merits of the appeal, named numerous corporate defendants the workers sought to rely on an “inten- and individual defendants, alleging the tional tort exception,” which was discussed The court did add that the documents following causes of action: in Lowman v. Piedmont Executive Shirt should be produced to the trial court for 8 In Lowman,. CompanyManufacturing an in camera review in order to “assure the (I) intentional, willful, negligent the plaintiff sued her employer both for broadest discovery to Brunson” and to en- and/or wanton causing or allowing the workers’ compensation benefits but also for sure compliance with the appellate court’s workers to be subjected and/or exposed fraud, conspiracy to defraud and outrage. ruling. to hazardous and/or harmful chemicals, The basis for the allegations stemmed from substances and/or conditions; Finally, the Alabama Court of Civil the plaintiff’s claim that her supervisor re- Appeals ordered the insurance compa- (II) intentional and/or willful fail- fused to process her on-the-job injury as a ny to produce all policy and procedure ure to provide and/or maintain a safe workers’ compensation claim and allegedly manuals that related to or involved peer work place; threatened the plaintiff with being stuck review, reasoning that the manuals could (III) damages from co-employee with a big medical bill if she did not file her easily contain relevant information, e.g., defendants; disability claim as not being work-related. retention of unqualified peer reviewers The appellate court held that because the misrepresentation fraudulent(IV) or standards that do not conform to Ala- actions of the plaintiff’s supervisors were to as facts material of suppressionor bama law, and Liberty Mutual failed to not covered by workers’ compensation, i.e., factory; the atconditions explain why the manuals would not be they were committed beyond the bounds relevant. (V) workers’ compensation ben- the employer’s proper role, the exclusivity efits. provision did not apply. 22 Birmingham Bar Association


BPI_BBAbulletin_15164_REV_op
To see the actual publication please follow the link above