New Jersey Workers' Compensation Update

07.31.13

Category: New Jersey

Peterson v. Home Depot Supply, 2013 WL 3238333 (App. Div.)

In the matter of Peterson v. Home Depot Supply, 2013 WL 3238333 (App. Div.), Peterson appealed a Judge of Compensation's ruling dismissing his claim petition for workers' compensation benefits. The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the Judge of Compensation finding that there was sufficient credible evidence to support her decision.

Peterson filed a claim petition on May 3, 2007, alleging that as a result of his employment with Home Depot Supply from October 2004-May 2006, he suffered from multiple permanent orthopedic and neurological injuries.

At trial, the Judge of Compensation listened to testimony that included Peterson; his wife; Peterson's experts including Dr. Arthur Rothman and Dr. Arthur Tiger; and treating doctor, Dr. David Idank and medical experts for the employers. At the conclusion of trial, the Judge of Compensation dismissed Peterson's claim against Bernstein and Home Depot.

The Appellate Division noted that the decision of the Judge of Compensation was binding as long as it was supported by sufficient credible evidence. The Court emphasized that the Judge had outlined the evidence, including medical records, Peterson's testimony, and Dr. Tiger's opinion that led her to conclude that petitioner had not shown that his disabilities were work related.

Robinson v. Tishman, 2013 WL 3237253 (App. Div.)

In the matter of Robinson v. Tishman, 2013 WL 3237253 (App. Div.), the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court decision that granted Summary Judgment to Defendant Tishman and dismissed Plaintiff Robinson's negligence action barred by the immunity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1-128.

Robinson was working at a construction site in Asbury Park and injured his neck and back while using a jack hammer. Robinson filed two claim petitions, one against Tishman, the construction manager of the site and another against Air Joy Heating and Cooling, Inc.(Air Joy), the subcontractor that plaintiff worked for directly. Tishman filed an Answer affirming Robinson's employment, but AirJoy denied Robinson's employment. Nonetheless, as part of a settlement, both Tishman and Air Joy paid Robinson workers' compensation benefits.

Despite receiving benefits, Robinson filed a civil complaint against both Tishman and Air Joy in November 2008, alleging that he suffered personal injuries as a result of their negligence and sought damages for those injuries. Tishman and Air Joy filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court found that Tishman was plaintiff's general employer and Air Joy was his special employer, which entitled both to immunity from the suit under the Act. Robinson only appealed the trial court's decision regarding Tishman.

The Appellate Court noted that if an injury is compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act, then the employee is barred from pursuing common law remedies even if the employer was negligent. Id. at 3 (citing N.J.S.A. 34:15-8). The Court determined that Robinson had explicitly requested workers' compensation benefits from Tishman and alleged that Tishman was his employer. Moreover, he was compensated for his injuries by Tishman. Therefore, the Court determined that allowing Tishman to face the negligence action would undermine the principles governing the Act.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of Weber Gallagher's Workers' Compensation Group.

Media Contacts

Lexi Burchmore
267.295.3377
lburchmore@wglaw.com

back to top