The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled on a workers’ compensation coverage issue. Port Elevator-Brownsville, L.L.C. v. Casados, No. 10-0523 (Tex. Jan. 27, 2012), available at http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2012/jan/100523.pdf. The plaintiffs’ son suffered a fatal work-related injury while working as a temporary worker for Port Elevator. The plaintiffs did not seek workers’ compensation benefits from Port Elevator’s insurer, and, instead, sued Port Elevator for negligence. The plaintiffs obtained a jury award of $2.5 million. The appellate court affirmed this award. Port Elevator appealed, arguing that the Texas workers’ compensation scheme provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs argued several reasons why Port Elevator’s workers’ compensation insurance policy did not cover their son: (1) Port Elevator did not pay premiums for temporary workers; (2) their son was not covered by a code classification; and (3) Port Elevator’s insurer denied coverage. The Court addressed each argument. It then concluded that Port Elevator subscribed to workers’ compensation insurance and that the plaintiffs’ son was covered by that insurance. Therefore, the Court found that the remedy provided by the Texas workers’ compensation scheme was the exclusive remedy for the plaintiffs’ son’s injury and that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit against Port Elevator was barred. The Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and rendered judgment for Port Elevator.
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