Daily Decisions: Varying Standards of Review of Workers’ Comp Decisions

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of thinking about Jorge Cantu’s injuries, mainly because he was on one of my fantasy baseball teams for about four seasons in a row a while back. Well, Jorge L. Cantu v. Department of Labor & Industries (Division 3, March 27, 2012) (published May 8, 2012), involves an injury to Jorge Cantu, but it’s not this Jorge Cantu:

Jorge Cantu

Unfortunately, this post has nothing to do with baseball. No, it’s about an injury a different Mr. Cantu suffered to his knee while working at WestFarm Foods back in 2004. He initially filed a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries about a month after his accident. Pursuant to that claim, and based on his leg injury, Cantu was awarded permanent partial disability payments from WestFarm. Continue reading


Daily Decisions: County and Coordinating Contractor Not Liable to Injured Worker as “General Contractors”

Ignacio Cano-Garcia was injured on a construction project owned by King County and monitored by Jacobs Civil, Inc. While working with cement, the mixture got into his boots and attached to his skin; he required skin graft surgery for his injuries. Cano-Garcia claimed that King County and Jacobs “each had a duty to protect him from injury” on the project.

In Ignacio Cano-Garcia v. King County (Division 2, May 8, 2012), the Court of Appeals disagreed, holding as a matter of law that neither Jacobs nor the County owed a duty to Cano-Garcia to protect him from injury. Rather, that duty belonged to Kenny/Shea/Traylor (“KST”), one of eight general contractors on the project and the one for which Cano-Garcia worked. However, under the workers’ comp system, KST was immune from suit. (Also under the workers’ comp system, Cano-Garcia received payments from the Department of Labor for his medical bills and lost time.) Continue reading

Daily Decisions: Jurisdiction is Jurisdictional

There’s a lot of build up and procedural background in Magee v. Rite Aid (Division 1, January 17, 2012) (published April 23, 2012), but in the end it’s all just sound and fury signifying, well… not nothing, but not much. In the end, the Court of Appeals held that the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (“Board”) has subject matter jurisdiction over any workers’ compensation-related matter, regardless of whether that matter is beyond the Board’s proper scope of review. If the Board decides a workers’ comp issue outside of its scope of review, such a decision may be an error of law, but it is not a jurisdictional error. Accordingly, a party’s failure to challenge such an error on review (either to the Superior Court of the Court of Appeals) constitutes the waiver of any claim that the Board’s decision was outside the scope of review. Continue reading

Daily Decisions: That City Cop Who Had a Gun and Ordered You to Stop Was Not “Employed” by the City

Certainly you’ve been driving around Seattle and come across some road construction. And certainly you’ve encountered a Seattle Police Department officer directing traffic at the construction site, telling you where to go, telling you to stop, telling you to slow down, &c. He or she was in uniform, had a badge, probably had a gun, and looked pretty darn official, I’d imagine.

Well, you might be surprised to learn that the officer you saw was not an employee of the City of Seattle (at least for workers’ comp purposes) according to the Court of Appeals in Gary Merlino Construction Company v. City of Seattle (Division 1, April 9, 2012). Continue reading