Home > Jurisdiction, Uncategorized > Falcons Score! NFL Players Barred from CA Comp

Falcons Score! NFL Players Barred from CA Comp

November 26th, 2012

Sweet Golden Falcons of Justice!

Last week, California put aside its workers’ compensation squabbles and focused instead on some non-workers’ compensation gobbles – turkey!  Thanksgiving tables were set, football was played and watched, and a fun time was had by all.  No one realized it, but football became more possible because of a small victory against those who would use workers’ compensation in California to make football unplayable (or at least more expensive).

My beloved readers (for whom this humble blogger gives endless thanks all year round) will recall an earlier post discussing the National Football League and the Falcons’ efforts to sue former players to force them to abandon their California workers’ compensation claims and bring them instead in Georgia, as per their players’ agreements.

It appears, now, that U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash found that the players cannot bring their claim in California, and must instead pursue their rights under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law in Georgia.  Ain’t that a peach of a ruling?  Judge Thrash “rejected the players’ claim that the award violated California public policy, noting that the players never proved they were explicitly injured in California, where they had played only two percent of their Falcons games. 

So what does that mean for your weekend?  Many professional sports franchises will be able to reduce costs by avoiding the bottomless pit of workers’ compensation liability found in California.  Additionally, if you’re an employer sending your employee to California for business (meetings, conferences, recruitment events, etc.) perhaps you can seek to duplicate the success of the NFL and the Falcons by including a workers’ compensation forum selection clause in your employment contract.

As for California, the victory is bitter-sweet.  On the one hand, the workers’ compensation system is overloaded as it is, and there is no need for more applicants, more cases, and more delays in access to the trial calendar.  On the other hand, attorneys on both sides of the divide are sad to see less business stroll through their doors.

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