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Corporate Parent Not Entitled to Exclusive Remedy Protection

October 2015

In Burge v. Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 2015 IL App (2d) 141090, the plaintiff filed suit against Exelon Generation Company, LLC, (Exelon) alleging personal injuries sustained as a result of an unsafe condition while working at Exelon's facility. The plaintiff was employed by Exelon Nuclear Security, LLC (ENS). The plaintiff filed and settled a workers' compensation claim against ENS. ENS was a Delaware limited liability company, under which Exelon was the company's sole member.

The trial court dismissed plaintiff's complaint against Exelon, holding that his claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305/1, et seq. In support of the motion, Exelon submitted an affidavit from the workers' compensation claims manager of the benefits department for "the entire Exelon-related system of workers' compensation benefits." According to the affidavit, Exelon used a third-party administrator which paid benefits to the plaintiff. In turn, Exelon funded the ENS account from which those benefits were paid.

The Second District appellate court reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint. The appellate court, discussing prior case law, acknowledged the exclusive remedy provision bars lawsuits against an employer's agents. The appellate court, reviewing the ENS operating agreement, found nothing therein which gave ENS the right to control it sole member, Exelon. As a result, the appellate court held Exelon was not an agent of ENS. Since Exelon was not an agent of ENS, the exclusive remedy provision did not apply.

Finally, the appellate court considered whether Exelon's role in paying the workers' compensation benefits was sufficient to trigger the exclusive remedy provision. It held that simply paying the workers' compensation benefits, absent some legal obligation to do so, did not entitle Exelon to the protection of the exclusive remedy provision.

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2015/2ndDistrict/2141090.pdf

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
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211 North Broadway, Suite 2200
St. Louis, MO 63102
Phone: 314-300-0527
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