Sunday, August 8, 2021

Skilled University of Chicago Law Student Categorizes the States as to COVID, Recommends Reforms for the Next Pandemic

            In a finely-wrought and sophisticated essay, a University of Chicago law student  seeks to catalog the response of state workers’ compensation laws to the challenges of the COVID pandemic.  He identifies four “novel categories” of laws, placing them “along a spectrum, from most likely to cover a meaningful number of workers to least likely.”  These categories, which he admits are largely based on a “textualist reading” of laws (as opposed to empirical data), are likely coverage states, selective coverage states, uncertain coverage states, and unlikely coverage states.

            The author correctly characterizes the current coverage situation as being fraught with uncertainty, which is neither advantageous for workers nor economically efficient.

            He recommends, in any event, that workers’ compensation laws be amended so that, during the next pandemic, frontline workers – which he calls “public-facing essential employees” – have, through “coverage” presumptions, a more certain remedy.

            See Dylan Moore, Striking a New Grand Bargain: Workers’ Compensation as a Pandemic Social Safety Net, ___ University of Chicago Legal Forum ___ (2021),

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