Submitted March 15, 2017
appeal from the New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of
Workers' Compensation, Claim Petition No. 2015-21874.
Michael S. Harwin, attorney for appellant.
Chartwell Law Offices, LLP, attorneys for respondent
(Brittany Atkinson, on the brief).
Judges Alvarez, Accurso and Manahan.
Keith Williams appeals from the dismissal of his claim
petition by the Division of Workers' Compensation for
lack of jurisdiction. Because we conclude the judge of
compensation erred in concluding the Division was without
jurisdiction to consider Williams' claim, we reverse.
essential facts are undisputed. Williams, a New Jersey
resident, filed an online application for employment with
respondent Raymours Furniture Co., Inc. Respondent called
Williams at his home in Paterson to arrange an interview at
respondent's facility in Suffern, New York. Following
that interview, respondent telephoned Williams at his home to
offer him a job as a warehouse worker in its shipping and
receiving department in Suffern. Williams answered the phone
and accepted the job.
worked exclusively in respondent's Suffern warehouse. In
2 014, he claimed he tripped over a hand truck in the course
of his employment and fractured his elbow. The New York
Workers' Compensation Board directed respondent to
provide Williams medical treatment and indemnity benefits.
little over a year after the accident, Williams filed a claim
petition in New Jersey. Respondent answered, leaving
petitioner to his proofs as to all aspects of compensability
and raised the affirmative defense of lack of jurisdiction.
Williams subsequently filed a motion to strike the
affirmative defense, which the judge of compensation denied
in a brief opinion from the bench dismissing Williams'
claim with prejudice. The judge found "[e]verything took
place basically in New York except for the residency of Mr.
Williams." Because the accident occurred in New York
where Williams regularly worked, the judge concluded there
was "no reason for New Jersey to assert
appeal, Williams contends the judge erred in concluding New
Jersey was without jurisdiction to resolve his claim
petition. Among other things, he argues his residency and the
formation of the contract in New Jersey are sufficient to
confer jurisdiction on the Division. We agree.
the question before us is one of law, our review is de novo.
Sentinel Ins. Co. v. Earthworks Landscape Constr.,
L.L.C., 421 N.J.Super. 480, 485-86 (App. Div. 2011). It
is, of course, axiomatic that "the Workers'
Compensation Court [now Division] is statutory, with limited
jurisdiction." Connolly v. Port Auth. of N.Y. &
N.J., 317 N.J.Super. 315, 318 (App. Div. 1998). Because
its jurisdiction is statutory, it "is limited to that
granted by the Legislature and therefore 'cannot be
inflated by consent, waiver, estoppel or judicial
inclination.'" Bey v. Truss Sys., Inc., 360
N.J.Super. 324, 327 (App. Div. 2003) (quoting Riccioni v.
American Cyanamid Co., 26 N.J.Super. 1, 5 (App. Div.
Jersey's Workers' Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1
to -146, does not have an extraterritoriality provision.
See Williams v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 175
N.J. 82, 88 (2003). We, however, break no new ground in
acknowledging that "[a]ny state having a
more-than-casual interest in a compensable injury may apply
its compensation act to that injury without violating its
constitutional duty to give full faith and credit to the
compensation statutes of other states also having an interest
in the injury." Connolly, supra, 317
N.J. Super, at 319 (quoting 9 Larson's Workers'
Compensation Law § 86:00 at 16-55 (1997)).
Larson notes six grounds for asserting applicability of a