Court Rejects Determination that COVID-19 is Not Compensable as a Matter of Law Under Workers Compensation Act

Meeks v. Opp Health and Rehab., LLC, [Ms. CL-2023-0239, Jan. 31, 2024] ___ So. 3d ____ (Ala. Civ. App. 2024). In a per curiam opinion, the court (Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Hanson, and Fridy, JJ., concur; Edwards, J., concurs in the result) reverses the Covington Circuit Court’s order granting Opp Health and Rehabilitation, LLC’s (“OHR”) motion for judgment on the pleadings dismissing Rena Meeks’s worker’s compensation claim filed after she contracted COVID-19 while working as a certified nurse assistant in an OHR nursing home.

Meeks alleged that because of her exposure to coronavirus and contraction of COVID-19, “she suffered injuries to her lungs and airway that left her permanently disabled.” Ms. *2. In reversing, the court concludes “we are not prepared to hold that COVID-19 is not compensable under the Act as a matter of law. Meeks is entitled to pursue her claim that she contracted COVID-19 while working within the line and scope of her employment and that the performance of her duties as an employee exposed her to a danger or risk materially in excess of that to which people are normally exposed in their everyday lives.” Ms. *13. Ex parte Trinity Indus., Inc., 680 So. 2d 262, 269 (Ala. 1996).

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