COVID-19 Update: We are open and fully operating. Click here to see how we are serving and protecting our clients.
NEW COVID-19 Cases: If you have been affected by COVID-19, call or email us to discuss your legal rights.

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) provides the sole remedy for parties who suffer injuries arising out of the course and scope of their employment. There are exceptions to the exclusivity provision of the Act, however, that allow employees to pursue civil claims against their employers. The exceptions to the exclusivity provision were the topic of a recent Massachusetts opinion issued in a case in which a legal secretary sought compensation for harm caused by intentional acts. If you sustained harm at work, it is in your best interest to consult a capable Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer regarding what benefits you may be able to recover.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a legal secretary at his law firm. Initially, she was his only employee, but he expanded his staff over the years. The evidence demonstrated that he regularly engaged in abusive behavior towards the plaintiff, such as belittling and verbally attacking her and screaming and shouting in her face.

It is alleged that the plaintiff ultimately left the defendant’s employ and filed a lawsuit against him, asserting intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims. The defendant moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims, arguing they were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act. The case proceeded to trial, and a jury found in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant then appealed. Continue reading →

Massachusetts, like many states, enacted a Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) that grants employees injured at work the right to recover benefits. The Act bars employees from pursuing civil claims against their employers, however. While employers will often assert that the exclusivity provision of the Act bars civil claims, it may not constitute grounds for dismissal of a case prior to the exchange of discovery, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a Massachusetts court. If you were hurt at work, you could be owed benefits, and it is smart to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to determine your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff was employed by a tool company as a machinist. The tool company was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the defendant. The plaintiff injured her hand on a machine while she was working and subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant. The plaintiff’s complaint asserted that the defendant should be held liable for negligence and negligent supervision.

It is reported that the plaintiff alleged the defendant breached its duty to provide a safe workplace, reasonably supervise the worksite, and ensure employees were properly trained. The defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing it was the statutory employer of the plaintiff and, therefore, her claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed. Continue reading →

In Massachusetts, people hurt at work are limited in terms of recovery for their losses. Specifically, while work-related harm garners them the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits, it is at the exclusion of other civil damages pursuant to the provisions of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). If an employee’s injury is not work-related, though, it may not fall under the terms of the Act. A Massachusetts court recently addressed the issue of what constitutes a work injury in a case involving an employee’s accidental overdose. If you lost a loved one because of a work-related injury, it is wise to confer with a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your right to recover benefits.

The Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the decedent, who was 16 years old, worked at a fast-food restaurant. She visited the restaurant during one of her days off and obtained narcotics from a co-worker. Later that day, she died of an accidental overdose. The decedent’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against numerous parties, including those that had managerial, supervisory, and ownership interests in the restaurant.

It is reported that her complaint alleged that the defendants knew or should have known that the co-worker regularly used illegal drugs, and their failure to enforce their zero-tolerance drug policy caused the decedent’s death. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing, among other things, that her emotional distress claims were barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act. Continue reading →

In Massachusetts, if a person dies because of a work-related accident, the person’s family members can generally cover workers’ compensation benefits. The exclusivity provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) extends to a deceased workers’ estate, however, which means that the estate cannot pursue civil claims against the deceased workers’ employer. In some instances, though, it may not be clear whether an employment relationship existed between a company and a deceased worker. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the test for determining whether a part is immune from liability under the Act in a matter in which the decedent died in a trucking accident while working. If you lost a loved one due to a work-related accident, you might be owed benefits, and it is smart to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the decedent was resting in the sleeper compartment of a commercial truck when the truck driver crashed into another tractor-trailer that was stopped on the highway. The decedent died due to the injuries sustained in the crash. Both the decedent and the driver of the truck worked for the defendant company. The driver was an independent contractor of the defendant company and entered into a lease agreement with the company, through which he obtained the right to use the truck.

Allegedly, the driver also entered into an agreement with a staffing company through which he “leased” driver trainees, such as the decedent, who could assist him in transporting freight. Pursuant to the staffing lease agreement, the driver was responsible for the conduct and supervision of leased drivers. Following the decedent’s death, his estate received workers’ compensation benefits from the staffing company. They then filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant driver’s estate and the defendant company. The defendant driver’s estate moved for summary judgment, arguing the estate’s claims were barred by the exclusivity provisions of the Act. Continue reading →

People who sustain injuries in the workplace may be eligible to recover benefits under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). In exchange for the right to such benefits, the Act bars injured employees from pursuing personal injury claims against their employers for harm caused by injuries that arise out of employment. While in some cases, it is clear that a claim is precluded by the exclusivity provisions of the Act, in others, it may not be evident whether the harm in question constitutes a personal injury. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a Massachusetts case, in which the court discussed whether the Act barred an employee from seeking damages for emotional distress caused by workplace conditions. If you suffered injuries at work, it is advisable to speak to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to determine what benefits you may be owed.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff worked for the defendant at a power plant. His managers began to harass him, causing him to suffer panic attacks, anxiety, and stress. He sought medical leave, but his request was denied. He was subsequently terminated. He then filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant, asserting numerous claims, including intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendant responded by filing a motion to dismiss.

The Exclusivity Provision of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act

The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was both untimely and was barred by the Act’s exclusivity provision. The plaintiff did not submit a response to the defendant’s workers’ compensation allegations but argued that his claims were timely due to a complaint he filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Continue reading →

The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act is the sole remedy for employees who suffer injuries, which means they have the right to recover benefits but are generally precluded from pursuing civil lawsuits against their employers. They can seek damages via civil claims against other parties, however. In some instances, a party will attempt to avoid liability by arguing it engaged in a joint venture with the employer of the injured individual. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed joint ventures in the context of workers’ compensation claims, in a matter in which the plaintiff was denied the right to recover damages. If you suffered harm at work, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries while working for his employer, a chain steakhouse. He filed a workers’ compensation claim and received benefits that listed the two defendant companies and the chain steakhouse as insureds. He then filed a civil lawsuit against the two defendant companies, alleging negligence.

Reportedly, the defendants filed an answer arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). The case proceeded to trial, and the jury found that the defendants were engaged in a joint venture with the plaintiff’s employer. As such, the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the Act. The plaintiff filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, but the court denied her motion. She then appealed. Continue reading →

People who are hurt at work are often eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits for their losses. It is not uncommon, however, for employers to argue that injured employees should not be granted benefits because their harm did not arise at work. An employer that fails to set forth such arguments at hearings related to a claim for benefits, though, cannot assert such defenses at a later date. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a Massachusetts workers’ compensation case in which a court affirmed a ruling in favor of the claimant. If you were hurt at work, you should meet with a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to discuss what benefits you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the claimant was hired by the defendant to work as a personal care nurse for the defendant’s mother. Initially, the claimant agreed to work for two hours a day in exchange for room and board. She also performed secretarial work and various domestic tasks, like washing dishes, taking out the garbage, and cleaning. It was understood that if she performed more than two hours of work a day, she would receive additional compensation, but the defendant never paid her for additional work.

Allegedly, the claimant slipped and fell, taking out the garbage, and injured her back and neck. She could not work after the accident and filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The administrative judge found that the claimant was employed as a domestic worker on the date of the injury and that she worked thirty to forty hours a week and was therefore owed benefits. The defendant appealed the award, which was affirmed by the reviewing board. The defendant appealed again. Continue reading →

While most people think of workers’ compensation claims as arising out of bodily injuries, claimants can also seek benefits for illnesses they develop due to workplace conditions. In many cases, occupational illnesses take years to develop, and it can be difficult to demonstrate a causal link between a workplace and an ailment. A claimant the fails to adequately prove causation may be denied benefits, as demonstrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling issued in a workers compensation case. If you sustained an illness because of your work environment, you might be owed benefits from your employer, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that in 1968, the claimants assisted in the cleanup of radioactive materials that were released at a United States military base in Greenland. During the process, they were exposed to plutonium radiation. They later developed illnesses that they alleged were the result of their exposure and filed claims for workers’ compensation benefits under the Defense Base Act, which is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The administrative law judge conducted a series of hearings but ultimately denied their claims. The claimants then filed a petition for review.

Recovering Benefits for Occupational Illnesses

The LHWCA provides compensation for injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment. The LHWCA provides, in part, that injuries include occupational infections and diseases that arise naturally out of employment or as an inevitable result of an accidental injury. Thus, in order to receive benefits under the LHWCA, a claimant must demonstrate that there is a causal nexus between his ailment and his employment activities. Continue reading →

In Massachusetts, people injured in the workplace are generally precluded from filing negligence actions against their employers pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act. They may be able to seek damages from other parties who caused or contributed to their harm, though, as long as they have not otherwise waived the right to recover damages. Sometimes, however, it is not clear whether such a waiver occurred. In a recent opinion, a Massachusetts court analyzed whether a release issued in a workers’ compensation claim barred a plaintiff from pursuing damages in a negligence action, in a matter in which the plaintiff argued that collateral estoppel did not apply. If you sustained injuries while working, you might be able to recover damages, and you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney about your potential claims.

The Defendant’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision with a driver insured by the defendant. The plaintiff, who was working at the time of the collision, suffered substantial injuries. As such, he received workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s insurer, who secured a lien against any compensation recovered from those at fault. Two years later, the plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement with the defendant, which stated that the defendant would pay the plaintiff $25,000 to resolve his claims against the insured driver, half of which would satisfy the workers’ compensation insurer’s lien and the other half of which would go to the plaintiff.

Allegedly, the release stated the plaintiff waived any and all claims against the defendant or the insured driver. The plaintiff then filed a negligence lawsuit against the insured driver, arguing that the agreement did not bar his action. The defendant moved for summary judgment, which the court granted, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading →

Fast food restaurants handle a high number of customers per day, and it is not uncommon for there to be debris or spills on their floors. It seems inevitable, then, that people would be injured in slip and fall accidents in their establishments. In many instances, a person injured in an accident at a business will seek damages from the owner. In a recent Massachusetts opinion, the court discussed what a party alleging liability for a slip and fall accident at a fast-food restaurant must prove to recover damages. If you were injured in a fall, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to evaluate what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

It is alleged that the plaintiff went to eat lunch at the defendant fast food restaurant. She ordered her food, received her order, and sat down. She then proceeded to walk to the condiment counter while using a cane when she slipped in a puddle of an identified liquid which caused her to slip and fall. The liquid soaked through her clothes, but she did not know what kind of substance it was or how long it had been on the floor.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging it negligently failed to maintain the property in a safe condition. The defendant argued the plaintiff could not prove it breached a duty owed to her and filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court ultimately denied. Continue reading →