PENALTIES: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR

Yellow penalty flag on a white background

Carriers roundly applauded the Supreme Court decision in Ruttinger doing away with the bad faith cause of action for a Claimant. The rationale was partly that the statutory scheme was now so comprehensive, that the Legislature had supplanted the bad faith cause of action with penalties. Specifically: the Act

provides multiple remedies and penalties, including specific provisions for revocation of the carrier’s right to do business under the workers’ compensation laws of Texas if on multiple occasions it fails to pay benefits promptly and as they accrue.

Texas Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ruttiger, 381 S.W.3d 430, 450 (Tex. 2012).

Now the Carriers have a new regime of administrative penalties to deal with. In other words, all that is left to Claimants is to redress their grievances with the Department of Compliance and Practices as to prohibited practices of the Carrier under Tex. Lab. Cd. Section 415.002. I predict a whole new population of Claimants that will willingly take the Supreme Court up on their invitation. What other choice do they have?

All that remains to be seen is if Compliance and Practices will actively investigate the death penalty type sanctions for the Carriers described in the quote above.

Wooden Mallet and flag Of Texas (clipping path included)