May 20, 2019
appeal from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce
Development, Division of Workers' Compensation, Claim
Petition Nos. 2016-31488 and 2016-31489.
Cristie Robostell Nastasi argued the cause for appellant
(Hoffman Di Muzio, attorneys; Kenneth A. Di Muzio, of
counsel; Cristie Robostell Nastasi, on the brief).
Prudence M. Higbee argued the cause for respondent (Capehart
& Scatchard PA, attorneys; Prudence M. Higbee, on the
Judges Messano, Fasciale and Gooden Brown.
Jersey resident Richard Marconi filed two claim petitions
with the Camden Vicinage of the Division of Workers'
Compensation (the Division). In the first, Marconi alleged a
workplace injury to his left hip occurred on January 31,
2015, while working for United Airlines (United) in
Philadelphia. United answered the petition and acknowledged
that it employed Marconi on the date of the incident, his
injury arose out of the course of his employment, and it had
made full payment of benefits to Marconi.
second petition, Marconi alleged an occupational injury to
his hip while "[p]erforming repetitive duties [as an]
aircraft technician" between 1986 through present. The
petition again asserted the injury occurred at the
"[e]mployer's [p]remises" in Philadelphia.
United answered this petition, denied the injury arose out of
Marconi's employment, and reserved all defenses under the
New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act (WCA), N.J.S.A.
subsequently moved to dismiss both petitions alleging lack of
jurisdiction. In her certifications, United's counsel
explained Marconi was "hired in San Francisco in
1986," began working at Philadelphia International
Airport in 1988, "was displaced due to furlough in 2009
and transferred to . . . Dulles [Airport in] Washington[, ] .
. . transferred back to Phil[adelphia] in 2012 and . . .
worked there ever since." Counsel asserted Marconi
"was not hired in . . . New Jersey, the accident did not
occur in New Jersey and United does not have any contact with
. . . New Jersey."
Workers' Compensation judge (WCJ) conducted a hearing
limited to the jurisdictional issue. Marconi was the sole
Marconi temporarily lived in other cities throughout his
career, he was born and raised in New Jersey and lived here
continuously since 1988, when United transferred him to
Philadelphia. Marconi's supervisor in Philadelphia
reported to a United employee at Newark's Liberty
International Airport, a United "hub" for at least
a decade. Although never stationed at Newark, Marconi
frequently depended on the technical advice of United's
staff at that airport and would call "once every couple
of months" for assistance.
received training all over the world, including in Newark. He
would fly from Newark whenever United assigned him to do
"field service," i.e., assisting in the servicing
of United planes because of a lack of local technicians at
other airports. Marconi requisitioned parts from
United's Chicago and San Francisco operations, but these
would routinely be delivered first to Newark and then to
Marconi in Philadelphia. Marconi's supervisor sometimes
would drive to United's facility at Newark to retrieve
parts delivered there.
thorough and thoughtful written opinion, the JWC reviewed
relevant case law and considered a noted commentator's
"six grounds for asserting applicability of a particular
state's compensation act." Those are:
(1) Place where the injury occurred;
(2) Place of making the contract;
(3) Place where the employment relation exists or is carried
(4) Place where the industry is localized;
(5) Place where the employee resides; or
(6) Place whose statute the parties expressly adopted by
[13 Lex K. Larson, Larson's Workers'
Compensation, § 142.01 (Matthew Bender, Rev. Ed.
found that Marconi established factor five, residency.
Williams v. Raymours Furniture Co., 449 N.J.Super.
559 (App. Div. 2017),  and Parks v. Johnson Motor Lines,
156 N.J.Super. 177 (App. Div. 1978), the JWC noted a seeming
"dispute among . . . Appellate Division panels" as
to whether residency alone was sufficient. After analyzing
those decisions and others, the JWC concluded "any
exercise of jurisdiction in extraterritorial injury cases . .
. must be based upon New Jersey case law . . . and I can find
no New Jersey case where jurisdiction based solely on
residency was deemed sufficient."
also considered Professor Larson's fourth factor, whether
United was "localized" in New Jersey. He found that
"United . . . has a substantial presence in New
Jersey" and, recounting Marconi's testimony, the JWC
concluded United was "'localized' in New Jersey
(as well as Pennsylvania)." However, citing our decision
in Connolly v. Port Authority of New York & New
Jersey, 317 N.J.Super. 315 (App. Div. 1998), the JWC
concluded "Workers' Compensation Courts should
decline to exercise jurisdiction even when the injured worker
is a New Jersey resident and there is substantial
localization of the employer's operations in New
Jersey." The JWC found this to be "somewhat
vexing," because our courts "will exercise
jurisdiction in non-workers' compensation
extraterritorial injury cases where the injured party resides
here and the responsible party has substantial operations
here." (citing Rose v. Port of N.Y. Auth., 61
N.J. 129 (1972)).
observed that our court had approved the exercise of
jurisdiction over extraterritorial injuries when the
petitioner was a resident and New Jersey was the
"[p]lace where the employment relation exists or is
carried out." 13 Larson, § 142.01. Unlike the fourth
factor, which "focuses on the employer's operations
and presence in the state," this factor "focuses on