In Port Elevator-Brownsville v. Casados, 2012 WL 247985 (Tex. 2012), the Texas Supreme Court reversed a previous judgment from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals and held that a employee’s claim of negligence was barred by the exclusive-remedy provision of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The Texas Supreme Court further held that employers cannot, intentionally or unintentionally, split its workforce by electing workers’ compensation coverage for some but not all employees.
Plaintiffs argued that the workers’ compensation policy did not cover the deceased employee because: (1) the employer had not paid premiums for the employee; (2) the employee was not covered by any job classification identified in the employer’s workers’ compensation policy; and (3) the employer denied coverage for the workers’ loss.
The Texas Supreme Court held that the employer’s failure to pay specific premiums under the workers’ compensation policy did not preclude coverage. Also, the fact that the employee was not covered by any job classification identified in the employer’s workers’ compensation policy did not preclude coverage. Finally, the insurer’s denial of coverage for the worker did not preclude the application of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. In conclusion, because the employer subscribed to workers’ compensation insurance, the employee was employed by the employer, and the employee suffered a work-related injury, the remedy included in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act was the exclusive remedy for the employee’s injury and any negligence claim against the employer was barred.