A premises owner can’t be sued by an injured employee of a contractor, according to the Texas Supreme Court.
Turbine mechanic John Summers was injured in a 2001 accident while repairing a leak on a hydrogen generator at an Entergy Gulf States plant. (Summers has since died from unrelated causes.)
Entergy’s workers’ comp policy covered Summers’ injuries.
In effect, the Texas Supreme Court has expanded the immunity against lawsuits that direct employers have to also cover contractors.
State legislators say that was not their intent when they passed the most recent workers’ comp law.
The Texas Association of Manufacturers has applauded the decision, saying this ruling helps keep the cost of doing business down.
On the other hand, the Texas AFL-CIO criticized the ruling, calling it judicial activism.
A bill currently under consideration in the Texas legislature would clarify that contractors aren’t included in the immunity from lawsuits because of the availability of workers’ comp insurance.