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D.C. Court of Appeals clarifies the method to assign permanent partial disability awards

COURT OF APPEALS CLARIFIES THE METHOD TO ASSIGN PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY AWARDS UNDER THE D C WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT             Like many other workers’ compensation statutes, the D.C. Workers’ Compensation Act [Act] provides a schedule setting forth the amount of benefits that may be awarded for th…

Avoiding the Late Payment Penalty

Compensation awarded in an Order must be “paid within 10 days after it becomes due” or a statutorily mandated twenty-percent penalty shall be imposed. D.C. Code § 32-1515. In Daly v. D.C. Dep't of Empl. Servs., 2015 D.C. App. LEXIS 359, 12-13 (D.C. Aug. 6, 2015), the Court held that payment becom…

D.C. Workers Compensation Act Amended to Provide for Reversion of Third Party Claims

The District of Columbia Workers Compensation Act provides for an automatic assignment of the right to sue a third party to the employer if the person entitled to compensation does not file suit within six months after being awarded compensation in an order. D.C. Code § 32-1535(b). This provision had been…

Federal court in D.C. rejects dramshop liability claims arising from off-premises fight

Partner Steve Schwinn, assisted by Raphael Cohen, of Jordan Coyne, LLP secured the dismissal of all claims against a District of Columbia nightclub owner seeking damages arising from the death of a graduate school student who became involved in a fight outside a fast food restaurant with three men who had been served alcoho…

D.C. Court of Appeals adopts the economic loss doctrine

In Aguilar v. RP MRP Washington Harbor, LLC __ A.3d __ (D.C. Sept. 4, 2014), the D.C. Court of Appeals considered the issue whether the District of Columbia will follow the majority of jurisdictions by adopting the “economic loss doctrine” which prohibits claims of negligence where a claimant seeks to recover…

Failure to issue reservation of rights letter does not waive per claim/per claimant deductible

We previously noted the decision in Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. All Plumbing, Inc., Civil Action No. 12-851 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 2013)(Kollar-Kotelly, J.), where the Court held that Cincinnati Insurance's failure to properly reserve its rights and five-month delay in disclaiming coverage while controlling important acti…

DC:  Legal malpractice verdict in favor of plaintiff reversed on appeal due to lack of privity

In Scott v. Burgin, No. 12-V-1474 (D.C. Aug. 14, 2014), the Court reversed a $255,000 jury award in a legal malpractice case against a divorce attorney.  The plaintiff was not a client of the defendant law firm, and consequently the Court held that the defendant's duty of care did not extend to the Plaintiff, a…

Expert witness ruling in District of Columbia cell phone litigation

“Can cell phones cause brain cancer?”  That is a fundamental issue in Murray v. Motorola, Case No. 2001 CA 008479 (Superior Court for the District of Columbia, Aug. 8, 2014), in which Judge Frederick H. Weisberg has issued a 76 page opinion, ruling on the defendants’ Dyas/Frye challenges to the adm…

D.C. Court of Appeals affirms summary judgment based on judicial estoppel

In Atkins v. 4940 Wisconsin LLC, ___ A.2d ___, 2014 D.C. App. LEXIS 192 (D.C. July 3, 2014), the Court affirmed the trial court's award of summary judgment to the defendant on the grounds of judicial estoppel, based on the plaintiff's filings in bankruptcy court in which he represented in his schedules that he…

Failure to issue reservation of rights letter results in waiver of all coverage defenses

In Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. All Plumbing, Inc., Civil Action No. 12-851 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 2013)(Kollar-Kotelly, J.), the Court held that Cincinnati Insurance's failure to properly reserve its rights and five-month delay in disclaiming coverage while controlling important actions in the insureds' defense precl…