AOI petitions Oregon Supreme Ct. over LLCs

AOI Will Petition Oregon Supreme Court to Defend LLC Owners & Members
by J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon industries

As AOI informed its members in March, a recent decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals will have huge liability ramifications for owners and members of limited liability companies (LLC’s) in Oregon.

In this case – Antonio Cortez v. Nacco Materials Handling Group, Inc. – the Appeals Court ruled that the exclusive remedy provision of Oregon’s workers’ compensation law, ORS 656.018, does not protect the members of an LLC from tort liability.

In other words, under the ruling, the owners and members of an Oregon-based LLC are considered personally liable for damages arising from workplace injuries.

The court’s holding undermines the long-standing basic tenant of Oregon’s workers’ compensation statute that an injured workers’ exclusive remedy against their employer is via the workers’ compensation system.

The issue stemming from the Cortez decision is that all employers across Oregon are protected from liability under Oregon’s workers’ compensation exclusive remedy statute – except for LLC owners and members.

Nacco Materials, an AOI member, will now petition the Oregon Supreme Court for review of the case. AOI will join with Nacco in this process.

In fact, AOI and 12 of our business association partners will join in an amicus brief to the Oregon Supreme Court to make the case for reviewing this decision. The fact that 12 business groups will join AOI on this brief illustrates the gravity of the issue to Oregon’s statewide business community.

The amicus brief strategy is a complement to AOI’s legislative strategy of fixing the issue in the 2013 Legislative Session.

AOI thanks its business association partners for making this a powerful collaborative effort:

Associated General Contractors – Columbia Chapter
Oregon Home Builders Association
Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association
Oregon Forest Industries Council
Associated Oregon Loggers
Oregon Farm Bureau Federation
Oregon Trucking Association
Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association
National Federation of Independent Business – Oregon Chapter
Oregon Auto Dealers Association
Portland Business Alliance
Oregon Seed Council

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