Worker’s Comp RICO Claim Gets Second Chance

December 9, 2009 ( – Justices at the U.S. Supreme Court have rebuffed requests to take an appeal of a court decision allowing employees with workers compensation claims to pursue a racketeering case against their employers.

The high court’s action to leave alone Paul Brown et al. vs. Cassens Transport Co. et al means that an October 2009 ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clearing the way for the mail and wire fraud case to move forward remains in effect. The suit is being sent back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Allegations against self-insured Cassens Transport, based in Edwardsville, Illinois, were that Cassens relied on claims adjuster Crawford & Co. and what the plaintiffs claimed were unqualified doctors to encourage medical exams that would result in worker’s compensation benefit denials.

Business Insurance reported that attorneys and employer groups have criticized the appeals court decision, arguing among other things, that it provides an avenue for federal judges to rule on workers comp claims (that are typically reserved for state courts) and that it will raise costs.

The 6th Circuit decision is available here.