Workers who collect worker’s comp payouts lose the right to sue their employer. Any other party who could be legally liable remains open to suit. (If the worker wins the tort case, it must repay worker’s comp for its outlays).
Who enjoys this employers’ immunity from suit? The exclusive remedy of Worker’s Comp is exclusive to whom?
FACTS Outback Steakhouse was a subsidiary of Blooming Brands. Dakin got hurt working at Outback in Hanover and collected workers comp but then brought a case in Court against Blooming.
Blooming argued it was entitled to enjoy the employers’ immunity from suit, that it was a joint venturer with Outback due to the joint character of the business arrangements between the operating company and the local establishment.
ISSUE Did Blooming enjoy immunity from suit as a joint venturer with its subsidiary Outback?
RULING Yes Massachusetts Appeals Court decided in James Z. Dakin Vs. OSI Restaurant Partners, Mass Appeals Court 2021
REASONS The Court found evidence of a series of interrelated entities engaged in a common undertaking to manage and operate the Bloomin’ Brands restaurant concepts, including the Hanover Outback Steakhouse where the plaintiff worked.
The with proof of the interrelated management, financial interdependence, and connectivity of the entities the defendants showed “an intent to associate” “so as to render them a single employer under [the act].”
COBB COMMENT Comp paying employer’s immunity from suit enjoyed by interrelated corporations (manager of restaurant concepts and individual restaurant corporation) on joint venture theory.