Heard in the Court of Appeals December 3, 2014
Anderson Law Firm, by Michael J. Anderson, for plaintiff-appellee.
Wall Templeton & Haldrup, P.A., by William W. Silverman, J. Mark Langdon, & Robin A. Seelbach, for defendant-appellant.
DIETZ, Judge. Judge BRYANT concurs. Judge DILLON concurs by separate opinion.
Appeal by defendant from order entered 21 April 2014
by Judge Quentin T. Sumner in Wilson County Superior Court.
Plaintiff Jeffrey Bowden was injured at work. While his workers' compensation claim was pending, he sued First Liberty Insurance Corporation, the insurer handling the claim, for intentional infliction of emotional distress and bad faith. Bowden alleged that First Liberty engaged in a host of intentionally wrongful conduct while handling his claim and that he suffered various emotional injuries as a result.
First Liberty moved to dismiss the claims on the ground that the Industrial Commission had exclusive jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion and First Liberty appealed.
We reverse. This case is controlled by Johnson v. First Union Corp., 131 N.C.App. 142, 143-44, 504 S.E.2d 808, 809 (1998) and Deem v. Treadaway & Sons Painting & Wallcovering, Inc., 142 N.C.App. 472, 477-78, 543 S.E.2d 209, 212 (2001). In Johnson and Deem, this Court held that claims arising from an employer's or insurer's processing and handling of a workers' compensation claim--even intentional torts--fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission. We agree with First Liberty that the claims asserted in this case are indistinguishable from those we previously held to be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Industrial Commission in Johnson and Deem. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court and remand for dismissal of the claims against First Liberty for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Facts and Procedural History
Jeffrey Bowden managed a fast food restaurant in Wilson, North Carolina. On 4 July 2013, Defendant Dwayne Maurice
Young allegedly assaulted Bowden during an attempted armed robbery at the restaurant. Bowden later filed a workers' compensation claim for various physical and ...