Supreme Court of Guam Upholds Summary Judgment Ruling for Employer in Wrongful Death Action
R. Marsil Johnson of BSJM obtained a successful ruling from the Supreme Court of Guam in a wrongful death action filed by the widow of an employee injured in the course of his employment. In addition to filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, a wrongful death action was filed against the employer’s corporate officers. At the Superior Court of Guam, BSJM was able to obtain summary judgment in favor of those officers.
The Supreme Court of Guam affirmed the grant of summary judgment by arguing that recovery in tort was barred by the “dual persona” doctrine. Under the “dual persona” doctrine, a separate tort action is barred where the injured party was injured in the course of his employment on property that was owned by corporate officers. Instead, the employee’s remedies are limited to statutory damages recoverable through workers’ compensation. Thus, the employee’s widow was entitled to a remedy, but only the remedy provided under Guam’s workers’ compensation statute.
Blair Sterling Johnson & Martinez provides commercial and litigation representation, business advice, and legal counsel in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.