A Kentucky appeals court has ruled that a workers’ compensation claim filed by an injured coal worker must be heard in West Virginia because the work injury occurred in the neighboring state even though the employer is based in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a state Workers’ Compensation Board decision that upheld a trial judge’s decision that had granted extraterritorial jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation claim filed by Lewis Hicks.
Mr. Hicks, who worked for Southeastern Land LLC, which owns several coal mines in Kentucky and one in West Virginia, was injured in January 2019 after getting caught in a conveyor belt at a coal mine in West Virginia.
He filed a claim in Kentucky, and a judge found that while the injury occurred in West Virginia, Kentucky had extraterritorial jurisdiction over the case given that the company was based in Kentucky. The Board of Trustees approved the decision.
The company appealed, arguing that the case belonged in West Virginia because that state was where the injury occurred.
The Court of Appeals ultimately agreed with the employer and Kentucky Employers̵7; Mutual Insurance that West Virginia law should govern the case, because Mr. Hicks, while making occasional trips to company headquarters or other mines in Kentucky, was injured at a mine in West. Virginia, where he spent most of his time working.
The Court of Appeal referred the case back to the original law judge who dealt with the claim.