July 2014 Subrogation Newsletter
Texas has historically been a very favorable venue for workers’ compensation subrogation. Until the June 20, 2014 Texas Supreme Court decision in State Office of Risk Management v. Carty, 2014 WL 2790810 (Tex. 2014), there has been a great deal of confusion with regard to how a carrier’s future credit is calculated when multiple beneficiaries are involved in death cases. Thanks to the new decision in Carty, a workers’ compensation carrier’s right under § 417.002 to treat a third-party recovery as an advance against future benefits in a case involving multiple beneficiaries should be determined on a collective-recovery basis.
For nearly 20 years, the plaintiffs’ bar and negligent third parties have been trying to use the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as a weapon against legitimate subrogation claims. While the fight continues, two recent federal district court decisions stood in favor of subrogation yet again. Both cases center on a third party’s attempt to dodge tort liability through the FDCPA.
Trial lawyers are already calling it a “travesty of justice”. Gary Wickert gave two media interviews about its significance within two hours of the decision being published. The truth is, however, the new Wisconsin Supreme Court case which is being decried as allowing a workers’ compensation carrier to “force” an employee to accept a settlement in third-party litigation, is not new law and merely confirms existing law which acknowledges that the trial court has the power to approve a third-party settlement where the employee or the carrier is not happy with it.
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C. is proud to announce the addition of two new attorneys and paralegals. We appreciate the continued trust and confidence our clients have shown in our abilities to maximize their subrogation recoveries throughout North America. The increased business entrusted to us has necessitated the addition of several experienced legal professionals to help us meet the demand of our clients. Please join us in welcoming them.