Senate passess Workers’ Comp LLC fix

By  J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

Finally. After months of negotiations and gamesmanship in the House, the Oregon Senate took the bull by the horns and stood strong with business on one of the most critical bills for Oregon business this session.

SB 678 makes it clear that members and owners of LLCs are protected under Oregon’s exclusive remedy law just like all other employers.

AOI introduced this legislation at the beginning of the 2013 Legislative Session to address the negative ramifications of last year’s Oregon Court of Appeals decision in Antonio Cortez v. Nacco Materials Handling Group, Inc.

The Appeals Court ruled in Cortez that the exclusive remedy provision of the workers’ compensation law does not protect the members (owners) of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) from liability stemming from a workplace injury.

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.

SB 678 makes clear that owners, members and partners in limited liability companies and partnerships are protected from personal liability stemming from workplace injuries under Oregon’s exclusive remedy law, so long as they are acting within the scope of employment.

On Tuesday the Oregon Senate passed SB 678 by a vote of 25-0-5.

AOI thanks the chief sponsors of SB 678 – Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River), Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham), and Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

AOI also thanks the Senate Business Committee, particularly chair Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) and vice-chair Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), for their quick action to move this bill when it became clear that the House version of the bill (HB 2923) was being used as a political bargaining chip.

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