NEWS & Events
Texas Supreme Court issues major decision recognizing the importance of state’s Workers’ Comp Law
On August 26, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a significant decision in favor of Graves Dougherty client Texas Mutual Insurance Company. The Court’s opinion in Texas Mutual Insurance Company v. Timothy J. Ruttiger recognizes the importance of remedies available to injured workers through the Texas Labor Code.
The Supreme Court held that certain provisions of the Insurance Code creating a cause of action for “unfair settlement practices” do not apply in the workers’ compensation context because they conflict with the comprehensive workers’ compensation system established by the Labor Code. The Court observed that recognizing an Insurance Code cause of action created an incentive for injured workers not to seek prompt recovery of workers’ compensation benefits under the Labor Code.
Texas Mutual, with assistance from GDHM, has worked for the last decade to bring about judicial recognition of the inherent conflict between protection for injured workers under the Labor Code and recognition of “bad faith” claims under the Insurance Code. In the Ruttiger case, a jury had found in favor of the plaintiff, and that finding was affirmed in the Court of Appeals. Graves Dougherty joined the case as counsel on motion for rehearing in the Court of Appeals.
Graves Dougherty shareholder Pete Schenkkan was Texas Mutual’s lead counsel in the Supreme Court and argued the case. Graves Dougherty lawyers joining him on the briefs were Mary Keeney, Jim Hemphill, Bill Christian, and Matt Baumgartner. GDHM lawyers Robin Melvin and Boyce Cabaniss also provided assistance.
Read Texas Mutual’s statement on the company's website.