GMSR obtains $2.8 million appellate victory for workers’ compensation carrier

GMSR’s client, a workers’ compensation carrier, paid benefits to an injured employee of its insured, a security company. The employee sued others for negligence, including the university where he had been assigned to work for a number of years. The jury found the university at fault but not the security company. The trial court refused to honor a lien that the workers’ compensation carrier had filed based on the payments it had made. The court reasoned that the university was the employee’s special employer, and that the carrier therefore must have made the workers’ compensation payments on behalf of the university. The Court of Appeal reversed, enforcing the lien. The appellate court reasoned that whether the carrier paid workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of the university as a special employer was a jury question, and that those opposing the lien had the burden of proof. Because the jury made no finding on that issue, the lien had to be enforced. The court further held that even if the university was a special employer, there was no evidence that the workers’ compensation carrier insured the university as an additional insured or made payments on its behalf. The Court of Appeal directed entry of judgment for $2.8 million for the carrier.

Court of Appeal Opinion – View Document