Marconi v. United Airlines, Docket No. A-0110-18T4, 2019 N.J. Super. LEXIS 119 (App. Div., Decided Jul. 22, 2019)

The Appellate Division revisits the issue of exercise of jurisdiction in extraterritorial injury cases.

The petitioner was employed as an aircraft technician for the respondent and filed two claim petitions: (1) a work-related injury to his left hip while working for the respondent in Philadelphia; (2) alleged occupational exposure to repetitive motion while employed with the respondent in Philadelphia from 1986 through present. The respondent moved to dismiss both claims for lack of jurisdiction. The judge of compensation conducted a hearing limited to the jurisdictional issue with the petitioner as the sole witness.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge  applied the six grounds for asserting jurisdiction as set forth in Larson’s Workers’ Compensation, Section 142.01 (Matthew Bender, Rev. Ed. 2019): [1] place where the injury occurred; [2] place of making the contract; [3] place where the employment relation exists or is carried out; [4] place where the industry is localized; [5] place where the employee resides; or [6] place whose statute the parties expressly adopt by contract. The judge determined that the petitioner was a resident of New Jersey at the time of his work-related accident and exposure and that the respondent had a substantial “localized” presence in the state. However, the judge erroneously believed that under the Appellate Division’s holding in Connolly v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 317 N.J. Super. 315 (App. Div. 1998), he was required to “decline to exercise jurisdiction even if the injured worker is a New Jersey resident and there is substantial localization of the employer’s operations in New Jersey.” Accordingly, the judge held that the petitioner failed to establish jurisdiction as to his work-related accident and exposure, and he dismissed both claims. This appeal ensued.

In affirming the judge of compensation’s ruling, the Appellate Division revisited Connolly and posited that the judge misinterpreted its holding when he stated that residency and substantial localization of the respondent’s operations in New Jersey were insufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation.


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