Saturday, July 24, 2010

Illegal Immigration and Longshore

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. v Director, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs,  the court considered whether Jorge Rodriguez, an undocumented immigrant was entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The employer asserted that the injured worker was not entitled to benefits since his “injury caused him no loss of wage-earning capacity because he had no legal wage-earning capacity at the time he was injured.” The court disagreed and upheld the ALJ’s ruling-that Rodriguez was entitled to receive benefits under the LHWCA.

The court reasoned “The remedy provided by the LHWCA is merely a substitute for the negligence claim that an employee could otherwise bring against his employer in tort. As one court has observed, “it would not only be illogical but it would also serve no discernable purpose to accord illegal aliens the right to bring affirmative claims in tort for personal injury but deny them the right to pursue the substitutionary remedy for personal injuries sustained in the workplace.”

They granted Mr Rodrigues Longshore benefits and emphasized 1) Longshore is a non-discretionary remedy
2) Longshore was enacted as a substitute for tort claims, and
3) Longshoree xpressly provides for the award of benefits to nonresident aliens.

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