NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.
Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.
A claimant cannot bring a declaratory judgment action with an action for judicial review. The
claimant filed suit against the carrier seeking judicial review of the Division’s determination that
her injury was no longer compensable based on an injurious practices defense. She also sought a
declaration that the injurious practices defense is not a proper defense under the Workers’
Compensation Act. The claimant brought suit against the carrier, but the Division intervened in the
suit as a necessary party to the declaratory judgment action, which it considered “an impermissible attempt to control state action.” The Court dismissed the declaratory judgment action and held that
it was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Court noted that the claimant did not
challenge the validity of a statute, but rather its interpretation.
Tex. Dept. of Ins. v. Green, 2016 WL 2745063 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2016).
A different Court of Appeals has also held that a claimant cannot bring a declaratory judgment
action with an action for judicial review. The claimant sought judicial review of the Division’s
determination that he was not a covered employee at the time of injury and that his injury was not
compensable. He also sought declarations that he was a covered employee, regarding various
provisions of the client contract at issue, and that a worker becomes a covered employee when
certain criteria are met. The claimant brought suit against the carrier, the Division, and the
Commissioner for all claims asserted. The Court held that the judicial review claims were barred by sovereign immunity as against the
Division and the Commissioner, and that no exception applied. Concerning the declaratory
judgments, the Court held that sovereign immunity bars claims against the state that seek
interpretation of a statute, as opposed to challenging the validity of the statute, and the claimant only
sought interpretation of a statute. It held that the claims against the Commissioner did not allege an
ultra vires act, as they challenged a discretionary act only – the decision to deny the claim for
compensation, and were thus barred. It held that, even ignoring sovereign immunity, the remedies
sought by the declaratory judgments were redundant, and in fact identical, to the relief sought in the
judicial review action. Lastly, the Court held that a declaration sought regarding when any worker
becomes a covered employee is not ripe for adjudication, as it concerns the rights of other workers
not before the Court. All claims against the Division and the Commissioner were dismissed.
Texas Dept. of Ins. v. Brumfield, 2016 WL 293380 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2016).