Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Article Treats Hoary Issue: Whether a Juror can be an Employee of the Sponsoring Government Unit for Workers' Compensation Purposes

        A law student writing in the St. John's Law Review has treated the hoary issue of whether an injured jury member is to be considered an employee of the sponsoring municipality for workers' compensation purposes.  Corey Baron, Twelve Injured Men: Why Injured Jurors Should Not Receive Workers' Compensation Coverage From the Courts, 91 St. John's Law Review, p.957 et seq. (Winter 2017).   The author explains in articulate fashion the positions of the majority (jurors are NOT employees) and minority (jurors ARE employees).  He then concludes that the New York rule should be no, and that this rule should be created not in the precedents but, instead, via statutory amendment.  

        For support, he argues that juror work is not hazardous – and workers' compensation was, and is, intended only for hazardous work, particularly (under the New York statute), in the realm of municipal employment. 

        It seems to this writer that the traditional reasons for excluding jurors -- (1) lack of a contract of employment, (2) service on a jury as a matter of civic duty -- are the more persuasive arguments for such exclusion.  Most state statutes include all types of labor, hazardous or not.  (We'll set aside Wyoming!) 

            In any event, Mr. Baron has collected all the arguments in his valuable essay.

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