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Federal court rules against Boeing in injured worker lawsuit


A federal court allowed a lawsuit by an injured Boeing Co. employee to continue, ruling against the company’s summary judgment motion in a workplace failure-to-accommodate case.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Wednesday sided with Haythamani Hassan, who worked as an interior design engineer for the company from 2011 to 2020.

Mr. Hassan was paralyzed after contracting an infection while on his honeymoon in 2015 and took a medical leave of absence until 2018.

In 2020, he filed a workers compensation claim arguing his medical condition was exacerbated by occupational exposure and industrial injury, but the claim was denied over a lack of proof the injury was work-related.

Mr. Hassan and Boeing reached a settlement agreement following the comp claim, and he sued Boeing for failing to accommodate his disability, and for discriminatory and retaliatory termination.

Boeing sought summary judgment, arguing a Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals decision denying Mr. Hassan’s comp claim appeal precluded him from filing suit.  

The federal court said summary judgment for Boeing is not warranted at this point because the previous comp case differs from the failure-to-accommodate allegations.

The court said employment discrimination claims differ from comp claims, and that while comp exclusive remedy typically persists, an exception permits tort recovery if an employer acts with deliberate intention in disregarding actual knowledge of a worker injury.