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Edward J. Currie, Jr., Currie Johnson Griffin & Myers, PA, Jackson, MS, obtained summary judgment in federal court in Mississippi on behalf of his insurance company client in a bad faith action. Plaintiff filed a claim with the Mississippi Workers Compensation Commission for a work related injury and the carrier paid benefits, including all reasonable and necessary medical expenses After completion of paying benefits and medical expenses, the carrier filed a notice of final payment. Thereafter, plaintiff continued medical treatment alleged to be related to the original work injury and demanded that the carrier pay bills and expenses for this subsequent treatment. After investigation, the carrier determined that the subsequent treatment was not related to the original work-related injury and denied payment.

Plaintiff filed a bad faith suit against the carrier and his employer asserting claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and bad faith refusal to pay benefits ordered to be paid by the Commission. The court granted summary judgment to the defendants, holding that the exclusive remedy doctrine prohibits negligence-based claims against an employer and carrier. The court also held that plaintiff could not assert a bad faith claim because she failed to seek a determination by the Commission that the subsequent medical bills and expenses were reasonable and necessary and, therefore, failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before filing the bad faith suit. The court dismissed all claims against the employer and carrier without prejudice.


Congratulations, Ned!


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