A Michigan court on Friday rejected the state’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that workers ‘compensation regulators illegally and illegally deny work injury benefits based solely on the injured workers’ immigration status.
In November, the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center filed a lawsuit to challenge a 2003 decision in the State Court of Appeals in Sanchez v. Eagle Alloy where the Court of Appeal concluded that a state law declaring that employers are not liable for compensation during periods when a person is unable to find work due to a crime has been committed applies to those who are not legally authorized to work in the country.
The State Supreme Court rejected a request for review in July 2004.
The state moved to dismiss the latest complaint on the grounds that the Immigrant Rights Center did not provide the necessary notice, did not have the authority to bring the case, failed to state an actual controversy and failed to exhaust administrative action.
The Court of Claims in a decision issued on Friday said it found no merit in any of the state̵7;s arguments.
“The complainant’s complaint describes a controversy which is not only hypothetical, but which has resulted in real and tangible damage to the MIRC,” the court said. “According to the complaint, the MIRC’s current legal rights are adversely affected by the defendant’s alleged misapplication of Sanchez, and a declaratory judgment is required to guide the MIRC’s future conduct in order to preserve its rights.”
The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center is asking a court to repeal the law on denying benefits to injured workers who are alleged to have committed a crime and to declare that it is illegal to deny benefits solely on the basis of immigration status. Should the court uphold the statute of limitations for having committed a crime, the MIRC alternatively asks for an explanation that labor market officials can only consider immigration status if the employer proves that immigration status “has resulted in the injured worker committing a crime that prevents the worker from receive equivalent wages which the worker earned before the injury. “
The state has 30 days to appeal the decision.
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