Search Site
Free Consultation 855-234-7619
 
Virginia Injury Blog
 

NC Workers’ Comp Case Headed for the Supreme Court?

A Florida freight broker has filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case where the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled the broker had to pay workers’ compensation benefits out of pocket for an injured truck driver whose employer did not have the required insurance. A Florida company, Owen Thomas, Inc., hired Goree Logistics, Inc., a North Carolina motor carrier company, to haul produce shipments. The driver Goree hired, Frances Atiapo, suffered an injury while hauling blueberries for one of Owen Thomas’ clients and attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim. When Atiapo discovered that Goree did not have the state-mandated insurance, she filed an action with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, NCIC, naming Goree and Owen Thomas as defendants. NCIC ruled that Owen Thomas was liable, and ordered the company to pay $4,356.50 in disability benefits as well as $73,165.25 in medical expenses, plus the plaintiff’s legal costs. Owen Thomas appealed, but the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the commission’s decision.

The issue before the Supreme Court, if the court decides to hear the case, will be whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act preempts enforcement of the state law. Often, federal law will trump state statutes, since the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, and federal law sets standards for the entire country. Owen Thomas will try to make the case that the Court of Appeals ruling places an unfair burden on freight brokers, who would be subject to a patchwork of state laws.

The FAAAA does reserve power through the federal government to set standards for common carriers in areas that might affect their price, routes or services. However, Atiapo’s attorneys successfully argued that the state requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance was not related to price, routes or services. If the Supreme Court reverses the Court of Appeals’ ruling, Goree can be held solely liable for Atiapo’s workers’ compensation benefits. But, first, the Supreme Court must agree that the question is one it wants to hear. The Court could deny certiorari. That would leave the constitutional question unsettled but would have the practical effect of holding Owen Thomas liable.

If you have questions about your rights to workers’ compensation benefits, talk to a knowledgeable North Carolina attorney. Call Lanier Law Group, P.A. today at 855-234-7619 to schedule a free consultation.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Convenient consulations at the location of your choice Our skilled attorneys come to your home or office to meet with you
Media Center
  • Get to know Lanier Law Group with our series of informative videos. You'll learn about various points of personal injury law, and how we approach our practice to deliver the best results possible.

Recent Cases
  • Workers' Compensation Claim A worker's compensation claim where client was doing framework and the nail gun that he had on his waist shot misfired and fired into his right knee. Client had to have surgery to remove the nail. Employer is claiming there was no employer/employee relationship.
  • Personal Injury Claim A personal injury claim involving a bus driver who battered and assaulted two minors. One minor has a possible mental health issue caused by the attack. The second minor jumped in to help, and driver struck her as well.
  • Car Accident Claim A car accident claim where our client, a police officer, was struck in the rear while on duty, by a drunk driver.
  • Workers' Compensation Claim A worker's compensation claim where client slipped and fell on ice, injuring his left knee and right hip. Client had to have hip replacement surgery and received a 25 percent rating on his knee.
Read More
Testimonials
  • “She was very professional, kept me completely involved and updated with everything. Awesome job done.”

    - T.D.

  • “Maria stayed on top of everything with updates, etc.”

    - J.M.

  • “Very good communication throughout my case. Brenda paid great attention to my case and kept me up to date.”

    - T.P.

  • “Both attorneys involved were very informative and walked me through my case every setp of the way. They answered any questions and concerns I had whenever they cam up. I was very nervous and skeptical at the beginning but that quickly changed.”

    - J.B.

See All Testimonials
Our Firm
Download Our App

Our Social Security Disability Help Center app can provide assistance if you've been involved in an accident. Use the links below to select and download our app for your Apple® or Android device.

Contact Us

Please fill out form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Office Locations

Use the map below to find the location closest to you

  • -- mi
    Raleigh, NC
    207 W. Millbrook Road, Suite 215
    Raleigh, NC 27609
    • 1.(919) 848-2000 Tel
  • -- mi
    Charlotte, NC
    10130 Mallard Creek Road, Suite 110
    Charlotte, NC 28262
    • 1.(704) 341-5558 Tel
  • -- mi
    Jamestown, NC
    4915 Piedmont Pkwy., Suite 104
    Jamestown, NC 27282
    • 1.(336) 855-8554 Tel
  • -- mi
    Greensboro, NC
    222 S. Swing Road, Suite 6
    Greensboro, NC 27409
    • 1.(336) 855-8554 Tel
  • -- mi
    Winston-Salem, NC
    250 Executive Park Boulevard, Suite 107
    Winston-Salem, NC 27103
    • 1.(336) 760-9996 Tel
  • -- mi
    Durham, NC
    600 S. Duke Street
    Durham, NC 27701
    • 1.(919) 682-2111 Tel
  • -- mi
    Greenville, NC
    108 W. Firetower Road, Suite H
    Greenville, NC 28590
    • 1.(252) 757-7777 Tel
  • -- mi
    Burlington, NC
    2630 Ramada Road
    Burlington, NC 27215
    • 1.(336) 506-1041 Tel
  • -- mi
    Fayetteville, NC
    4200 Morganton Road, Suite 200-15
    Fayetteville, NC 28314
    • 1.(910) 484-3333 Tel
  • -- mi
    Asheville, NC
    603 Biltmore Ave
    Asheville, NC 28803
    • 1.(828) 412-3503 Tel
  • -- mi
    Wilmington, NC
    1213 Culbreth Drive, Suite 120
    Wilmington, NC 28405
    • 1.(910) 256-4445 Tel
View more