Under Massachusetts law, employees who suffer injuries in the workplace can often recover workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act). In exchange for such statutory protections, they lose the right to seek civil damages from their employers for personal injuries. They can, however, seek compensation from other parties that contributed to their injuries. If they do, such parties are barred from seeking indemnity from the injured party’s employer by the exclusivity provision of the Act, as discussed in a recent Massachusetts ruling. If you suffered harm at work, it is in your best interest to talk to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer to determine what benefits you may be owed.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the employee, while working for the employer, visited a third-party property to empty a dumpster manufactured by the defendant. When he was emptying its contents, the dumpster fell onto him, causing him to sustain injuries to the lower half of his body. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. In turn, the defendant filed a motion for leave to file a third-party complaint against the employer, arguing that it was liable on theories of contractual and common law indemnification.
The Exclusivity Provision of the Act Bars Third Party Claims Against Employers
The court denied the defendant’s motion to the extent that it sought to pursue common law indemnification claims against the employer. The court explained that motions for leave to join third-party defendants will not be granted when doing so would be futile. It elaborated that such a motion would be futile if the third-party complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Continue reading →