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Successful Defense of Client in Workers’ Compensation Case Brings Dismissal of Claim on Basis of Jurisdiction

Case Study

Successful Defense of Client in Workers’ Compensation Case Brings Dismissal of Claim on Basis of Jurisdiction

December 18, 2018
Ioannis S. Athanasopoulos

It started in June 2018 with a hotel bellman’s claiming in court that he had injured his abdomen, back, and shoulder while picking up luggage and ended in September 2018 with our attorneys’ convincing a judge to dismiss the man’s workers’ compensation claim.

And in-between came the work required to win a legal battle.

Defending a hotel chain and a multinational insurance carrier, Goldberg Segalla associate attorneys Ioannis S. Athanasopoulos and Elizabeth A. Adekunle—New Jersey-based members of our Workers’ Compensation Practice Group—communicated with their clients, worked as a team, gathered information, wrote a brief, filed a motion, and argued before a judge that the claim be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

A lot was at stake. The claimant was seeking temporary disability benefits amounting to 70 percent of his average weekly wage or statutory minimum/maximum, medical treatment, reimbursement of already-incurred medical expenses, permanent disability benefits, attorney’s fees, court costs, possible re-opener rights for additional medical treatment, and an increase in permanency award.

But filing a claim in New Jersey requires certain contacts there. That the bellman was living in New Jersey when he was injured was, by itself, not enough for him to bring a successful workers’ compensation claim in that state, we maintained. When he was hired he had been a New York resident. And New York was where our client operated and the bellman had been injured, allegedly sustaining orthopedic and neurological injuries to his abdomen, mid-lumbar spine, and left shoulder while on the job. So we obtained his employment application showing he had been a New York resident when he was hired and argued our case in court, and, in September 2018, the judge ruled in our clients’ favor, dismissing the claim.

Three months later, in December 2018, Ioannis was successful in having the bellman’s medical-provider claim in New Jersey also dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.