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Court holds that right to workers compensation is not "property;" therefore, worker can't sue employer for fraudulent testimony

Jay Brown sought to collect workers compensation after he was injured at work in a paving accident.  After compromising his workers compensation claim, he sued his employer, Ajax Paving Industries, it's insurer, and several other entitites, claiming a corrupt conspiracy to deny injured workers compensation.  Brown argued that the employer and its insurer consistently presented false testimony at compensation hearings in an effort to reduce payouts and discourage comp claims.

While Brown's claim was pending, however, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals undercut his legal argument.  It reversed course and held that the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [RICO] could not be invoked to fight against a conspiracy to deny workers their work comp rights.  It ruled that RICO protects only "injuries to business or property," and that personal injury-type rights, or statutory employee compensation 'benefit' rights are not "property."

How is it that "businesses" and "property" are protected against fraud and corrupt practices, but statutory rights of workers are not?  Must be that employees' rights are just "too small to protect," as many businesses are "too big to fail...or punish."  And, oh, by the way, which one gives more money to politicians and judges for election?

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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