SAVANNAH HOSPITALITY SERVICES, LLC.
SCRIVEN et al.
P. J., COOMER and MARKLE, JJ.
Scriven was injured in an automobile accident in 2013. He
subsequently filed suit against one of his employers,
Savannah Hospitality Services, LLC ("SHS"),
alleging that SHS was negligent when it
denied him access to medical care and insurance coverage, and
that the resulting delay in care exacerbated his injuries.
SHS moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment on the ground that the Workers' Compensation Act
was the exclusive remedy. Without addressing the exclusive
remedy argument, the trial court denied SHS's motion to
dismiss. We granted interlocutory review, and for the reasons
that follow, we reverse.
appeal, we conduct a de novo review of a trial court's
ruling on a motion to dismiss." (Citation omitted.)
Kerr v. OB/GYN Assoc. of Savannah, 314 Ga.App. 40,
41 (723 S.E.2d 302) (2012).
viewed, the record shows that in August 2016, Scriven and his
wife filed a complaint against SHS, Southeastern Airport
Services, Inc. ("SAS"), Richard Bennett, and Carol
Cherry, alleging that he was employed by both SHS and SAS as
a maintenance worker and airport shuttle
driver. In 2013, he suffered injuries in a car
accident when he was struck by another vehicle that Cherry
owned and Bennett was driving. At the time of the accident,
Scriven was driving a vehicle owned by SAS. In addition to
claims against Bennett, Cherry, and SAS that are not relevant
to this appeal, Scriven also alleged that SHS was negligent
in failing to provide him with access to medical insurance
coverage after the accident, and that this failure
exacerbated his injuries and led to his suffering multiple
answered the complaint, admitting that Scriven worked for SHS
and SAS, and moved to dismiss the claims against it because
the Workers' Compensation Act was the exclusive remedy.
Attached to the motion to dismiss was a copy of a previous
lawsuit Scriven had filed in 2015 against Bennett, Cherry,
SAS, SHS, and Southeastern Hospitality Services, Inc., in
which Scriven alleged that he had been injured while in the
course of his employment. Also attached to the motion were
responses to interrogatories in the initial suit, in which
Scriven and his wife stated that, at the time of the
accident, Scriven was headed back to work after picking up
parts at the parts store.
trial court denied SHS's motion with regard to the
negligence claim, but allowed the claim that SHS prevented
Scriven from obtaining healthcare benefits to proceed. The
trial court did not address SHS's argument that
Workers' Compensation was the exclusive remedy, and it
refused to consider the documents submitted with the motion.
SHS obtained a certificate of immediate review, and we
granted the application for interlocutory appeal. This is
sole enumeration of error, SHS argues that the trial court
erred in denying its motion to dismiss because Workers'
Compensation is the exclusive remedy and bars Scriven's
civil action against it, including any claim that SHS's
conduct exacerbated Scriven's injuries. It contends that
Scriven admitted in his prior lawsuit that the auto accident
occurred in the scope of his employment, and the trial court
was authorized to consider this admission. We agree that
Scriven's claims are barred by the Act's exclusivity
Georgia Workers' Compensation Act (the "Act")
is designed to provide for relief to injured employees, while
also protecting employers from excessive recoveries of
damages. See DeKalb Collision Center, Inc. v.
Foster, 254 Ga.App. 477, 482 (1) (562 S.E.2d 740)
(2002). "The Workers' Compensation Act is a
humanitarian measure which should be liberally construed to
effectuate its purpose." (Citation omitted.) City of
Waycross v. Holmes, 272 Ga. 488, 489 (532 S.E.2d 90)
(2000); see also OCGA § 34-9-23.
the Act contains an exclusive remedy provision, which reads
in relevant part:
The rights and the remedies granted to an employee by this
chapter shall exclude . . . all other rights and remedies of
such employee [or] his or her personal representative . . .
and all other civil liabilities whatsoever at common law or
otherwise, on account of such injury, loss of service, or
death . . . . No employee shall be deprived of any right to
bring an action against any third-party tort-feasor, other
than an employee of the same employer. . . .
OCGA § 34-9-11 (a). Thus, "where the Act applies,
it provides the employee's exclusive remedy against his
employer and precludes recovery on a tort claim by an injured
employee against his employer." (Citations and
punctuation omitted.) Teasley v. Freeman,
305 Ga.App. 1, 2 (1) (699 S.E.2d 39) (2010); see also Ga.
Dept. of Human Resources v. Joseph Campbell
Co., 261 Ga. 822, 822-823 (1) (411 S.E.2d 871) (1992)
(exclusive remedy provision precludes suit against employer
as third-party defendant, "even when the employer's
negligence contributes to the employee's
It has been held repeatedly that OCGA § 34-9-11 grants
the injured employee's employer statutory immunity from
suit by the employee to recover damages other than
workers' compensation benefits, and it has also been made
clear that this statutory immunity from suit includes the
statutory employer regardless whether that statutory employer
had actually paid the workers' compensation benefits.
(Citations, punctuation, and emphasis omitted.) Saxon v.
Starr Indem. & Liability Co., 339 Ga.App. 495, 497
(1) (793 S.E.2d 659) (2016). Whether the exclusivity
provision bars an action is a question of law subject to de
novo review. Boulware v. ...