Case: Bowden v. Young, Coastal Plains Restaurant and First Liberty Insurance Corp., COA14-819, 02/17/2015.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that the North Carolina Industrial Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over claims arising from an employer’s or insurer’s processing and handling of a workers’ compensation claim.

Bowden sued First Liberty in Wilson County Superior Court while his workers’ compensation case was still pending before the Industrial Commission. He alleged that First Liberty engaged in intentionally wrongful conduct in the handling of his claim and he suffered emotional injuries as a result.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals noted that “the exclusive jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission includes not only work-related injuries but also any claims that are ‘ancillary’ to the original compensable injury… including claims arising from an insurer’s or employer’s processing and handling of the claim, and regardless of whether the alleged conduct was intentional or merely negligent.”

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded for dismissal of the claims against Liberty for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Click here for the full opinion.