Cases & Deals

Los Angeles County MTA wins monumental California Supreme Court decision involving worker's compensation benefits

Clients Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Jones Day argued as amicus on behalf of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") and won a major decision in the California Supreme Court when it held that California's long-standing method of determining an employer's liability for workplace injuries where an injured worker has preexisting industrial injuries or non-industrial disabilities survived a 2004 statutory amendment. Under the method previously approved in the Fuentes case, an employer is liable only for the percentage of permanent disability directly caused by the new injury, not for any increase in workers' compensation benefits due to any earlier disabilities. There were five conflicting decisions in the State Courts of Appeals on the issue of whether the California Legislature had abrogated this apportionment method with its 2004 amendment. The California Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to resolve this conflict. In our representation of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority as amicus curiae, Jones Day convinced the Court that the legislature had no such intent. Governor Schwarznengger announced that the decision will save the employers and taxpayers of California billions of dollars.

Brodie v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board; Welcher v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, Case Nos. S146979, S147030, 40 Cal. 4th 1313 (2007) (Cal. Supr. Ct.)