The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that the Superior Court of New Jersey has concurrent jurisdiction with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation to adjudicate a worker’s employment status for purposes of assessing the applicability of the exclusive remedy provision of New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation Act. In Estate of Kotsovska v. Liebman (A-89, June 11, 2015), the plaintiff argued that the decedent was an independent contractor, rendering the exclusivity bar inapplicable and permitting the Superior Court to retain jurisdiction over her personal injury suit. The court ruled that when there is a genuine dispute regarding a worker’s employment status, and the plaintiff files a complaint in the Superior Court only, that court has jurisdiction to resolve the dispute and is not required to transfer the matter to the Division of Workers’ Compensation if the exclusivity bar is raised as an affirmative defense.


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