Cases of Note

Medrano v. MCDR, Inc., 366 F. Supp. 2d 625 (US Dist. Ct., Western 2005)

March 31st, 2005

OVERVIEW: The administratrix and the employee claimed the deceased and the employee were the victims of unlawful discrimination because they were required to perform dangerous work which non-minority employees could refuse without retribution. The court found that the administratrix was not precluded from pursuing tort claims against the general contractor under the exclusive remedy provisions of the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Law (TWCL), Tenn. Code Ann. 50-6-101 et seq., because if the administratrix's contention that the company was not a subcontractor of the general contractor, but a separate general contractor was true, the administratrix could have conceivably pursued a claim against a separate party not protected by the exclusive remedy provisions. The employee's discrimination claims under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e et seq., were not barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the TWCL because the employee had alleged intentionally discriminatory acts which resulted in his injuries, and those contentions alone removed the case out of the exclusivity protection of the TWCL.

OUTCOME: The general contractor's motion to dismiss was granted as to the administratrix's claims for punitive damages under § 1981 and the employee's Tennessee common law claims of negligence, negligence per se, and misrepresentation. The remainder of the motion was denied. (Click here for opinion)

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