Orjuela v. New Haven Register LLC
An employer's derivative claim for reimbursement of workers' compensation payments can survive, even if the defendant files for bankruptcy protection, and the employer fails to file a proof of claim with the Bankruptcy Court. The plaintiff, William Orjuela, worked for M&O Corporation and sued the defendant, the New Haven Register, alleging that he was injured on the New Haven Register's premises. In July 2007, M&O Corp. won permission to intervene in the plaintiff's personal-injury suit. In February 2009, the New Haven Register filed for bankruptcy protection, and Orjuela filed a proof of claim. The Bankruptcy Court confirmed the New Haven Register's Chapter 11 plan and enjoined claimants from prosecuting any prepetition claims. The Bankruptcy Court granted Orjuela permission to continue to prosecute his legal claims and restricted his recovery to the amount of insurance proceeds. The New Haven Register moved for summary judgment against M&O Corp., because it failed to file a proof of claim when the New Haven Register filed for bankruptcy relief. The Superior Court found that M&O's claims were derivative of Orjuela's claims and that Orjuela filed a timely proof of claim. M&O merely seeks reimbursements of workers' compensation payments, in the event that Orjuela prevails. M&O's claim helps to prevent double recovery by the injured worker. The court was not persuaded that M&O's claim was discharged as a result of the New Haven Register's bankruptcy petition. The court denied the New Haven Register's motion for summary judgment against M&O.