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Jonathan Beiser Wins Workers Compensation Case

Defense Base Act

Senior partner Jonathan Beiser recently received a favorable ruling for his client, Nicholas Payne, in a workers’ compensation case.

The issue in the Shapiro and Duncan Inc., et al. v. Nicholas Payne case was jurisdiction.

Mr. Payne, a Virginia resident, was hired by Shapiro and Duncan Inc. in the state of Maryland. He was injured on the job as a passenger in a car in Washington D.C. He and his supervisor were on their way to a safety meeting in Maryland. Mr. Payne then filed a claim with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission, which awarded him compensation for the back injury he sustained in the accident.

 Shapiro and Duncan filed an appeal with the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. The Circuit Court agreed with the Workers Compensation Commission, finding that Maryland was the proper jurisdiction and that Mr. Payne was entitled to workers compensation benefits in Maryland.

Shapiro and Duncan then filed an appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Shapiro and Duncan Inc. is a company incorporated in Maryland but does business in both Maryland and Virginia. The company’s  main argument against paying Mr. Payne his workers compensation was that he was not “regularly employed” in Maryland because he performed his job in both Maryland and Virginia. They also argued against the work Mr. Payne performed in the months leading up to the accident was in Virginia, not Maryland. According to their argument, this means that under Maryland workers compensation law that Mr. Payne is not entitled to money from the Maryland Commission. Mr. Beiser countered this by arguing that Mr. Payne was hired in Maryland, by a Maryland corporation, and worked in Maryland, as well as Virginia, thus making him a “covered employee” in Maryland, despite the fact some of his work was in Virginia and that the injury occurred while passing through D.C

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed with both the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and the Circuit Court’s decisions to award Mr. Payne compensation. The ruling cited the facts that:

  • Shapiro and Duncan Inc. is a Maryland based company with no Virginia headquarters
  • Mr. Payne was hired by the company in the state of Maryland
  • It was Shapiro and Duncan Inc.’s initial intention that Mr. Payne work in Maryland

Because of these reasons, the court ruled that Mr. Payne was a “regularly employed” and therefore “covered” Maryland worker. He is currently set to receive his compensation.

Congratulations to both Mr. Payne and Mr. Beiser on this important and hard-won victory.

Ashcraft & Gerel

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