C.V. of Judge Torrey (324.3KB)
This document includes a list of all of Judge Torrey's publications.
The Opt-out of Workers' Compensation Legislation in the Southern States (468.7KB)
Some large corporations desire to opt-out of workers' compensation. A law passed in Oklahoma allows them to do the same, if they set up an ERISA-governed accident benefit plan. When an employer does so, it retains tort immunity. The employee has no say in the matter. These corporations seek to have such laws passed in other states. In this paper, I argue, among other things, that these proposals reflect overreaching that (1) will take away benefits from the working class and the working poor; (2) reject the social justice foundation of workers' compensation; (3) deprive injured workers of any impartial forum in case of dispute; and (4) exacerbate cost-shifting to other systems, including the cash-strapped SSD and Medicare programs. Opt-out, notably, is not a "movement," nor is it an "innovation." Both of these concepts usually connote progress. Opt-out is, instead, an unconscionable retraction. A state that adopts it has rejected First World values -- to wit, that all those injured at work deserve fair compensation, that due process should exist in case of disputes, and that industrial injury costs should be borne by industry. Employers should value workers' compensation out of a duty to good civics, for the tort immunity it brings (particularly in Pennsylvania), and as a benefit that engenders labor peace.
Pennsylvania Bar Association
You can order the new Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act Centennial History at the bar association website ("PBA Store" link.)
National Association of Workers' Compensation Judiciary
At the NAWCJ website you will find more studies where I have compared aspects of state workers' compensation systems.
Undocumented Immigrant Workers: A 50-State Review (625.1KB)
Here is a discussion of the law and policy of undocumented workers and workers' compensation. At the end you will find a 50-state table. I presented this paper at ABA Boston 2011, so bear in mind that it is a few years old. Updates are welcome! (DavdTorrey@aol.com.)
Professional Employer Organizations and Workers' Compensation (478.5KB)
PEO's (also known as employee leasing firms), are often misunderstood by lawyers and other workers' compensation professionals. Here is a judge's stab, from a couple years ago, at figuring the issue out! As I write (May 2014), we comp judges in Pennsylvania see less litigation over employee leasing. Why that is I do not quite know. We also now have a PEO law in our state, though it is largely "toothless." This is so because we still have no licensure or registration requirement. The state does not know whether PEO's are in fact insuring for workers' compensation.
Pennsylvania Law on Extraterritorial/Intraterritorial Coverage (747.0KB)
Workers' compensation coverage generally follows the employee when he or she travels out of state for work. However, the law is a bit more complicated than that. Pennsylvania, on this issue, is one of a handful of states that adopted the Council of State Governments' model law on extraterritoriality. It did so to bring consistency to the law. Here is an account of the Pennsylvania experience. I also address the law of intraterritoriality.
A Short Summary of Other States Coverage (230.3KB)
For extraterritorial coverage to apply, the employer must have secured the correct insurance. Here is a brief summary of the issue.
Finality of WCJ Fact-Finding Among States (334.9KB)
When workers' compensation was introduced a century ago, adjudication within state systems usually featured the first-level judge as a master or referee. A Board or Commission with broad powers was the final fact-finder. In the modern day, however, the judge in nearly half the states is the final fact-finder. This note and the two tables that follow explain, and show, respectively, the approaches taken in the various states.
Allegheny County Bar Ass'n (Young Lawyers Div.) Work Comp 101 (197.0KB)
This item is a detailed outline of a presentation to the ACBA Young Lawyers Division on Monday, May 6, 2013.
Attempts at Federalization and Federal Standards for Workers' Compensation: A Short History (308.3KB)
In this essay, for ABA Coral Gables 2013, I took a stab at a brief history of this sensitive topic. I conclude that, despite the "New Federalism," room still exists for imposition of federal standards on state programs. Whether such imposition would be wise is a different story.
Telecommuting and Workers' Compensation (224.4KB)
Here you will find my up-to-date discussion of telecommuting employees and the applicability of workers' compensation.