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Exclusive Remedy Holds Stong in California

Friday, November 2, 2001 | 635 | 0 | min read

2 recent cases have issued from the California Supreme Court and the Second Appellate District emboldens the Exclusive Remedy doctrine relative to Labor Code sections 3600, 3601 and 3602.

On 8/30/01 the California Supreme Court rendered its decision in Torres v. Parkhouse Tire Service holding that in a civil action against another employee, the injured worker must prove intent to cause injury in order to obtain redress outside of the workers' compensation system.

Torres's back support belt was grabbed from behind while Torres was on his knees working on a tire. Torres was lifted him off the ground several times, and finally dropped him on his knees, causing a back injury so severe that Torres did not return to work for Parkhouse. Torres claimed the incident was malicious and brought a civil action under LC 3601.

The Court said that the 'willful and unprovoked physical act of aggression' language of 3601(a)(1) includes an intent to injure requirement, stating that, 'an intent to injure element under this exception is consistent with the exclusivity rule, which immunizes employees' acts committed within the scope of employment.'

The Second Appellate District of California, in Gunnell vs. Metrocolor on 9/28/01 held that egregious misconduct by the employer does not necessarily take an employee


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