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Issues concerning former NFL player, Wesley Carrol’s claim for California workers’ compensation benefits initially were tried on December 2, 2008. On March 17, 2009, the WCJ issued a Findings of Fact and Award, finding that Carrol incurred cumulative industrial injury to several body parts in the course of his employment by the Saints and Bengals,causing 46% permanent disability. The Bengals’ petitioned for reconsideration which was granted. On May 24, 2010, the Appeals Board panel issued its Opinion And Decision After Reconsideration in which it rescinded the WCJ’s earlier March 17, 2009 decision, “because the evidence on the issue of section 3600.5(b) is incomplete.” The case was returned by the panel to the trial level for development of the record on that issue.

In this case, the Bengals established at trial that applicant was hired outside of California and that he was only temporarily in California doing work for the Bengals when the team played one game in the state in 1993. The Bengals further showed that as a permissibly self-insured employer under the workers’ compensation laws of the state of Ohio it furnished workers’ compensation coverage that covered applicant’s employment while in California. Ohio law recognizes the extraterritorial provisions of other states, including California, and likewise exempts out-of-state employers and employees who are temporarily doing work within Ohio from the provisions of its workers’ compensation statutes.

After remand, the WCJ again found that Carroll, incurred cumulative industrial injury to numerous body parts while employed as a professional football player by the New Orleans Saints from July 14, 1991 through August 30, 1993, and by the Bengals from September 1, 1993 to April 12, 1994, causing 46 percent permanent disability and a need for future medical treatment. The WCJ further found that the “Bengals are not exempt from workers’ compensation laws of the State of California, with respect to this case, by operation of Labor Code § 3600.5(b).” The WCJ reasoned that “the essential issue in this case is whether the applicant’s employment within the State of California while employed by the Cincinnati Bengals is considered ‘regularly employed,’ as set forth in Labor Code § 3600.5(a).” In this regard it was noted that a “”professional football player in the NFL, such as Mr. Carroll, regularly engages in his employment away from his home city and state. Typically, each NFL team plays one-half of their regularly scheduled games in their home city. The other half are played in the various other states and cities, including California,” For this reason the WCJ concluded “[I]t remains the opinion of the undersigned that Mr. Carroll’s employment with the Bengals while he was in the State of California was regular employment per Labor Code § 3600.5(a)”

The Appeals Board disagreed and reversed the finding of the WCJ in the en banc decision of Carrol v Cincinnati Bengals and held that an employee and his or her employer are exempted by Labor Code section 3600.5(b) from the provisions of the California workers’ compensation law when the employee was hired outside of California and all of the following apply: (1) the employee is temporarily within California doing work for the employer, (2) the employer furnished coverage under the workers’ compensation or similar laws of another state that covers the employee’s employment while in California, (3) the other state recognizes California’s extraterritorial provisions, and (4) the other state likewise exempts California employers and employees covered by California’s workers’ compensation laws from the application of its workers’ compensation or similar laws.