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The National Council on Compensation Insurance released on Tuesday its countrywide review of court cases affecting the workers compensation industry.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based ratings bureau found that a few courts are beginning to address COVID-19 cases. In September in California, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled in Brooks v. Corecivic of Tennessee LLC that the workers compensation exclusive remedy barred negligent supervision and emotional distress charges brought by an employee against the company for allegedly failing to keep the workplace safe during the pandemic. In October in New York, the state’s workers compensation board found in Employer: New York Black Car Operators that a positive COVID-19 test was sufficient prima facie medical evidence for a coronavirus workers compensation claim.
Many marijuana cases have also come before the courts, according to NCCI, with a Massachusetts court ruling in October in In Re Daniel Wright’s Case that an employer cannot be required to pay for medical marijuana for workers comp treatment. Cases over reimbursement of medical marijuana in workers comp claims are also pending in Florida and New Jersey.
NCCI also noted that courts continue to hear challenges on the use of impairment rating guidelines, with cases pending in Kansas and Montana, and a court in Utah rejecting a challenge that the state’s adoption of impairment rating and medical guidelines violated the state’s constitution.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 5, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 204 citations arising from inspections for violations relating to the pandemic, resulting in proposed penalties totaling nearly $2.9 million.