Department of Labor Benefits Review Board Reverses Finding of Liability Under LHWCA

September 17, 2018

King & Jurgens maritime attorney Douglas Matthews received a decision from the U.S. Department of Labor Benefits Review Board reversing the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) finding the firm’s client liable for a claimant’s benefits. The ALJ had determined that the client, who had hired the claimant’s employer for repair work to facilities in its shipyard, was a contractor under 33 USC 904(a) liable for the claimant’s disability due to his employer’s failure to secure insurance coverage or qualify as a self-insured employer under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This basis of liability was raised, sua sponte, after the evidentiary hearing by the ALJ and was based, as was pointed out in the appeal, on mere speculation by the ALJ. The Benefits Review Board agreed and reversed, determining that the client had no liability for the claimant’s disability.
Neafus v. Artisan Industrial Metals, BRB case no. 2015 LHC 00641 (8/30/18)(unpub.)