Home > Uncategorized > 9th Circuit Bars NFL Workers’ Comp Claim

9th Circuit Bars NFL Workers’ Comp Claim

An exciting development in the ongoing insanity that allows non-California athletes, and by extension, all visiting employees, to file workers’ compensation claims in California.  In the case of Bruce Matthews v. National Football League Management Council, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that applicant Bruce Matthews does not have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim in California, despite the fact that he did play 13 games in the Golden State.

Matthews had tried to exploit a loophole in California’s workers’ compensation system to pursue his claim in California, despite never playing for a California team in his over-twenty-year career.  His team and the NFL Management Council sought to enforce an arbitration agreement to require Matthews to bring his claim in Tennessee.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeal was not impressed.

The reason?  “In his application for workers’ compensation benefits, Matthews asserted that he suffered cumulative injuries incurred at “various” locations between 1983 and 2001. He did not allege any specific injury in California … Indeed, Matthews did not even allege that he played football in California, although we take judicial notice of the fact that Matthews’ teams played 13 games in California during Matthews’ 19-year career.”

So what’s the 9th Circuit looking for?  Well, it looks like an applicant needs to show signs of a discrete injury, the use of California’s medical treatment system, and perhaps the use of California’s legal system in pursuing the case.  But perhaps this means that the 9th Circuit does not recognize the legal fiction of the cumulative trauma?  After all, several states only recognized “discreet injuries.”

But, most important of all, the 9th Circuit reasoned that the claim would be barred in California…  Obviously wcdefenseca is still not considered a learned treatise.

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