SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Professional athletes who spend most of their careers with teams in other states will be prohibited from filing workers’ compensation claims in California, under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
AB1309 will close a legal loophole that has let athletes collect large cash settlements by claiming they suffered cumulative trauma during their professional careers, even if they have little to no employment history in California, Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, said Tuesday.
He said the California Insurance Guarantee Association has paid nearly $42 million in claims to professional athletes since 2002. An average of 34 new claims are being filed each month.
“Our workers’ compensation system will no longer be unfairly targeted by out-of-state professional athletes and California businesses will finally be protected from these claims,” Perea said in a statement.
Supporters of the law have argued that the claims put a burden on the state workers’ compensation system and could raise insurance costs. The compensation itself is paid by employers, including the team owners, not by taxpayers.
Opponents said the legislation was orchestrated by the owners of football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer teams to avoid liability for cumulative injuries.
Two dozen former players, including San Francisco 49ers defensive player Dana Stubblefield and Reggie Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals, spoke out against the bill during a news conference at the state Capitol in April.
Brown announced his signing of the bill without comment.
The law brings California into line with the majority of states, which limit such claims.
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