Hospital immune from Worker’s Comp retaliation claims.

 

Burt v. Andrews County Hospital District d/b/a Permian Regional Medical Center, 08-11-00109-CV (Tex. App. – El Paso, July 24, 2013).

This is a worker’s compensation retaliation case where the court recognized the applicability of the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Travis Central Appraisal District v. Norman, 342 S.W.3d 54 (Tex. 2011) noting the Worker’s Compensation Act amendments no longer waiver sovereign immunity for governmental entities for retaliation claims.

Plaintiff Burt filed suit against her former employer, Andrews County Hospital District d/b/a Permian Regional Medical Center, alleging retaliatory discharge under Chapter 451 of the Texas Labor Code and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Not a lot of factual background is given regarding the case, since none was relevant to the holding. The trial court granted the Hospital’s summary judgment and Burt appealed.

Twenty-five days after Burt filed her notice of appeal, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Norman.  The Eighth Court of Appeals noted that when applicable law changes during the pendency of an appeal, it must render its decision in light of the change.  And since the Hospital retains immunity from suit, which is jurisdictional, the Hospital’s argument based on the Norman decision can be raised for the first time on appeal.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.