Lawyers Update on Defense Base Act Remedies –
A new decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a Defense Base Act case discussed remedies that are – and are not – available to injured DBA contractors and longshore workers.
This important decision was made in the class action case of Brink v. Continental Insurance Company stemming from injuries that an overseas employees suffered while working for United States government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The plaintiffs were injured civilian and military contractors who contended that both the employers and their DBA workers comp Insurance Companies committed a number of unfair or illegal actions while administering their claims. As a result of this “reprehensible” behavior, the class action sought to bring legal action in addition to the DBA case.
Court Upholds Defense Base Act Compensation as Exclusive Remedy – Lawyers
However, The Defense Base Act has a very express and specific exclusivity provision which states that an employer’s or insurance carrier’s DBA liability “shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability.” In other words, if you are a civilian contractor who is hurt at work while working overseas, and you file a DBA claim, then you cannot pursue any other type of legal action.
Because of this exclusivity provision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that had dismissed the employees’ other tort claims – stating that these additional claims were barred by the “exclusivity” of the Defense Base Act remedy.
However, the court did leave a little wiggle room by also noting that there may be – in some limited situations – remedies falling outside of the DBA that are available to individual plaintiffs. For instance, an individual plaintiff who is also a DBA contractor could pursue claims for common-law assault, sexual assault, or breach of contract.
Our Defense Base Act Lawyers Help Workers Injured Overseas
If you have questions regarding your Longshore or Defense Base Act employer and/or insurance company with respect to your benefits, our experienced Defense Base Act lawyers would be happy to discuss you case with you.