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HENDERSON v. HERCULES, INC. et al.
41466.
WELTNER, Justice.
OCGA 3491134-9-11; constitutional question. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge McKenzie.
The issue on appeal is whether OCGA 34-9-11 conflicts with the Constitution of Georgia of 1976, Art. I, Sec. I, Par. XXIV, insofar as it purports to bar a wife's cause of action against her husband's employer for loss of consortium.
OCGA 34-9-11 is the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers' Compensation Act, supplanting the common law with an absolute liability of an employer, and fixed entitlements for an employee and "his personal representative, parents, dependents, or next of kin, at common law or otherwise." The legislative intent of the statute was to bring the entire family group within its coverage. Gulf States Ceramic v. Fenster, 228 Ga. 400 (185 SE2d 801) (1971). Therefore, if a wife's injury is covered by workers' compensation, her husband's common law action for loss of consortium is barred. Williams v. Byrd, 242 Ga. 80 (247 SE2d 874) (1978).
Since appellees are not liable for injuries to appellant, they are not liable to appellant's wife for loss of consortium attributable to those injuries.' " Douberly v. Okefenokee Rural Elec. Membership Corp., 146 Ga. App. 568, 570 (246 SE2d 708) (1978).
Here, the husband has no tort claim against his employer because he is covered by the Act, and his wife has no claim for loss of consortium, which is derivative from his right. Her property right could only vest if his cause of action be vested, which, of course, it is not. The claim of constitutional deprivation is without merit.
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, Jeffrey W. Kelley, Drew, Eckl & Farnham, B. Holland Pritchard, for appellees.
Robert M. Goldberg, for appellant.
DECIDED JANUARY 7, 1985.
Thursday May 21 16:36 EDT


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