The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN
On March 16, 1981 plaintiff secured an award against Bechtel in the amount of $ 118,000 pursuant to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq. (LHWCA or the Act). Shortly thereafter, on March 23, 1981 he filed his complaint against Bechtel and others.
On April 15, 1981 Bechtel moved to dismiss the action against it,
contending that plaintiff's recovery under LHWCA bars any common law action against it as employer, by virtue of § 905(a), the exclusive liability provision of LHWCA.
For the reasons stated below, the Court is persuaded that plaintiff's action is barred by § 905(a) of LHWCA.
This case presents an issue of first impression in this Circuit; i. e. can an employee who has recovered damages under the LHWCA maintain a tort action against his employer alleging willful, wanton, reckless, and unlawful misconduct?
The LHWCA is a comprehensive legislative scheme requiring employers to provide compensation to employees who are disabled or killed in the course of their employment. 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq. (1976). A prime purpose of the Act is to provide employees with a practical and expeditious remedy for work-related injuries, while limiting the economic burden on employers by providing that their liability under the Act shall be "exclusive" of all other liability. 33 U.S.C. § 905(a) (1976); Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, 432 U.S. 249, 97 S. Ct. 2348, 53 L. Ed. 2d 320 (1977); Cardillo v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 330 U.S. 469, 476, 67 S. Ct. 801, 805, 91 L. Ed. 1028 (1947); Shreve v. Hot Shoppes, Inc., 184 F. Supp. 436 (D.D.C.1969), aff'd, 110 U.S. App. D.C. 268, 292 F.2d 761 (D.C.Cir.1961); Harrington v. Moss, 407 A.2d 658 (D.C.App.1979)
LHWCA thereby strips an employee of the right to maintain a tort action against his employer, if he is compensated for injuries covered by the Act.
Northeast Marine Terminal Co. v. Caputo, supra; Baker v. Pacific Far East Lines, Inc., 451 F. Supp. 84 (N.D.Calif.1978); cf. O'Rourke v. Long, 41 N.Y.2d 219, 391 N.Y.S.2d 553, 359 N.E.2d 1347 (1976).
Section 905(a) provides in pertinent part:
The liability of an employer prescribed in section 904 of this title shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of such employer to the employee, ..., and anyone otherwise entitled to recover damages from such employer at law or in admiralty on account of such injury or death...