A recent federal court ruling holding that a migrant farm worker’s death from COVID-19 fell within the scope of workers compensation law is part of a growing body of rulings that bar liability lawsuits related to the pandemic against employers.LitigationWorkers' Compensation
The decision also highlights safety issues related to the housing of migrant workers during the pandemic.
According to the ruling in Garcia Rodriguez v. Blaine Larsen Farms Inc., heard in the federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Marco Galvan, a temporary farm worker on an H-2A immigration visa, entered an employment agreement with Larsen Farms on July 2, 2020, to work at its Dalhart, Texas-based farm.
Under the terms of the contract, Larsen would provide Mr. Galvan with free housing, food, transportation and other necessities, including medical care.
On July 10, Mr. Galvan began to exhibit severe COVID-19 symptoms, but the employer failed to provide access to transportation or inform him of his right to seek medical care, court documents state.