Employees shot at workplace are denied permission to sue sole shareholder, director, officer who failed to pay for comp insurance.
Two men who worked for King Auto Sales and Farid Hirmiz were hurt in a shooting that took place at the Defendants' car dealership. Their employer was King Auto II, who paid them cash and did not carry workers compensation insurance. The men attempted to pursue similar benefits (wages and medical, no pain and suffering) under a state law that makes an employer liable for benefits if it does not purchase workers compensation benefits for its employees. They brought their claim against the corporation and Hirmiz and his "other" corporation.
In a stunning and depressing decision that is exemplary of the state of the law in the United States, today, the Court held that the two men could not sue Hirmiz personally, even though he was the sole shareholder, officer and director of their employer, or his alter ego corporation, King I. The Court held that even though Farid Hirmiz had singlehandedly violated multiple laws by paying these men in cash and failing to buy workers compensation insurance, he was entitled to the protection of the corporate limited-liabilty structure that made only his "company" responsible for breaking the law.
The Court reached this decision even though Hirmiz was the sole incorporator, director, officer, shareholder and resident agent of King II, managed the dealership personally, and owned the property on which it stood. If he could not be held responsible to follow the law in how he paid and insured "his" employees, why should he be granted the benefit of the separate corporate status?
We find this one of the saddest and most unjust decisions we have read in a decade. Why the corporate and economic structure should protect a man who used it only to evade the law is beyond us. Making innocent men (and taxpayers, most likely) bear the expenses associated with an event for which modest insurance was a legal obligation, is both unfair to the men and poor public policy. And a hallmark of current-day Republican "justice."