Workers Comp Up the Ladder: GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. V. REHM (SC 8/23/2007)

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. V. REHM
WORKERS COMPENSATION:  "Up the Ladder" immunity
2004-SC-000043-DG.pdf
2005-SC-000242-DGE.pdf
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING IN PART AND REVERSING IN PART
OPINION OF COURT BY NOBLE
FROM: JEFFERSON COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 08/23/2007

In this set of civil cases regarding the immunity of contractors from civil suits, the Supreme Court explored the definition of “contractor” set forth in KRS 342.610(2). These were asbestos exposure cases, where there were multiple defendants. Each defendant’s business was analyzed to determine whether the work of the subcontractor, for whom the plaintiff worked, performed work which was a “regular and recurrent” part of the work of the defendant. The Supreme Court found that if the defendant had employees who would regularly perform the work that the subcontractor performed, the exclusive remedy provisions of the workers’ comp act would apply. If the subcontractors work was not a regular part of defendant’s business, as in the case where the work would be subcontracted out, the defendant would remain liable to the subcontractor’s employees. The case also discussed the ‘jural rights’ doctrine, but finds the exclusivity provision of the workers’ compensation act constitutional in that regard.

Digested by Peter Naake
Priddy, Cutler, Miller & Meade

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