Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Murphy & Beane, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin

August 29, 2017

In re Murphy & Beane, Inc. and Viacom, Inc.

         ORIGINAL PROCEEDING FROM TRAVIS COUNTY

          Before Justices Puryear, Field, and Bourland

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Cindy Olson Bourland, Justice

         Relators Murphy & Beane, Inc. and Viacom, Inc. have filed a petition for writ of mandamus asking this Court to compel the trial court to set aside its order denying relators' summary-judgment motion and to enter an order granting relators' motion and dismissing real party in interest Melanie Steele's claims in the underlying lawsuit. See Tex. Gov't Code § 22.221; see also Tex. R. App. P. 52.1. We will conditionally grant the petition.

         BACKGROUND

         This original proceeding arises from a lawsuit that Steele filed against Murphy & Beane and Viacom alleging claims related to injuries she suffered when working as an independent contractor for Viacom in Austin, Texas. In the lawsuit, Steele asserts claims for Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) violations, fraud, fraudulent inducement, and gross negligence against Viacom and Murphy & Beane, a third-party administrator for workers' compensation claims. Steele alleges that after falling down two flights of stairs in the workplace on June 12, 2006, she suffered severe injuries including broken and cracked teeth, lacerations to the face and body, broken bones, a bruised back, a strained neck, torn meniscus in both knees ultimately resulting in double knee-replacement surgery, and head trauma. She further alleges that a Viacom employee took her to the hospital "so that she could receive medical care under Viacom's Self Insurance Group as a result of the injury occurring while working in the course and scope of her employment in Texas with Viacom." Steele also asserts that three days later she countersigned a Texas Workers' Compensation Work Status Report and began receiving regular Texas Workers' Compensation Status reports.[1]

         Three weeks later, Steele alleges, an agent acting on behalf of the relators spoke with her and told her that her case was complicated because the injury happened in Texas, but the company handling the claim was from California. Steele asserts that the agent never told her that the relators were seeking to transfer the claim from Texas to California, but that Murphy & Beane proceeded to do so by filing an Employer's Report of Occupational Injury or Illness in California with the Department of Industrial Relations two months after her injury.[2] Steele further alleges that the relators failed to inform her that the case should be handled under the Texas workers' compensation system.

         Steele alleges various disputes arose over Murphy & Beane's handling of her claim, including a dispute early on over the medical necessity of total knee-replacement surgery, as well as disputes over Murphy & Beane's requirement that she fly to California to receive a Panel Qualified Medical Examination by a doctor provided by Murphy & Beane. She asserts that she found it increasingly difficult in the following years to receive medically necessary treatments "without either having to undertake unnecessarily difficult and repeated negotiations with Murphy & Beane, or just having the requested treatments flat out denied." She also alleges that Murphy & Beane never filed her claim as an open workers' compensation claim in Texas and "has misrepresented to Plaintiff [Steele] that (a) [Steele's] accident occurred in California, that (b) [Steele] was an employee located primarily in California, that the claim was a California claim, and not a Texas claim, that (c) she could not seek treatment from doctors of her choosing, that (d) she would have to travel to California to receive a [panel qualified medical examination], and that (e) Murphy & Beane could close her case for non-compliance." Steele further asserts that Murphy & Beane, acting on behalf of Viacom, has continuously injured her:

• by misrepresenting the nature of workers' compensation coverage available to Steele
• by applying the improper medical-treatment guidelines of California rather than Texas
• by not timely filing the injury notice in Texas
• by misrepresenting that the injury occurred in California
• by not properly registering the Self-Insured Group or Third-Party ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.