Case Summaries

Workers' Comp

[04/16] Hopkins v. Kedzierski
In an suit brought by an employee who sustained injuries and received workers compensation after falling from the balcony of her employer, the trial court's dismissal of her claims on timeliness grounds is reversed where although the court did not err in denying plaintiff's request for a jury trial and in determining that the doctrine of equitable estoppel does not apply, the reasons that the court provided as the basis for its determination that the equitable tolling doctrine is inapplicable are legally insufficient, and the matter must be remanded to the trial court for factual findings as to whether plaintiff demonstrated the elements of equitable tolling.

[04/15] Hallock v. Koubek
In a suit arising out of a car accident, denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment is reversed where, in light of certified questions answered by the New York Court of Appeals, a party in plaintiffs' position may not pursue a third-party contribution claim under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 388 against the owner of a vehicle where the vehicle driver's negligence was a cause of the plaintiff's injuries, but the driver is insulated from lawsuit by the exclusive remedy provisions of New York's Workers' Compensation Law section 29(6).

[04/14] Global Hawk Ins. Co. v. Le
In an suit brought by a truck driver who sustained injuries in an accident during a cross-country trip, summary judgment in favor of employer's insurance carrier are reversed where the trial court erroneously ignored pertinent facts in the case and held that the definition of employee in certain federal regulations, which are not mentioned in the insurance policy, controlled.

[04/01] Peabody Coal Company v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
A petition for review of a decision of the Benefits Review Board ordering petitioner to pay a coal miner's surviving spouse benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972 is denied, where: 1) the administrative law judge (ALJ) did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act by considering the regulatory preamble to the Black Lung Benefits Act in his decision awarding benefits; 2) a preamble may be used to give an ALJ understanding of a scientific or medical issue, and the ALJ properly considered the regulatory preamble to evaluate conflicting expert medical opinions; and 3) the ALJ's award of benefits was supported by substantial evidence.

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