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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Tomasa Serpas worked for a temporary staffing agency, Tandem Staffing, and was assigned to work at an Igloo Products plant. There, Serpas sustained serious injury in January 1999. Tandem’s worker’s compensation carrier, Hartford Underwriters Insurance Co., began paying benefits immediately, and continues to do so. Serpas sued Igloo in May 2000, but the claim was tossed out of court upon finding that Serpas’ exclusive remedy laid with the worker’s compensation system. It was then that Hartford first filed a notice of disputed claim with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission. Hartford asserted that new evidence showed that Serpas was actually an Igloo employee under the borrowed servant doctrine. The commission determined that Tandem and Igloo were Serpas’ co-employers at the time of the accident, but that Hartford had waived its right to contest the claim by waiting more than 60 days to file its notice. An appeals panel confirmed, and clarified that Hartford was solely responsible for payment. Hartford appealed to the trial court, arguing that it did not waive its right to contest the claim and claiming that Igloo’s worker’s compensation carrier, the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, was responsible. The trial court granted Hartford’s motion for summary judgment, and denied ICSP’s summary judgment motion, holding that each carrier was 50 percent responsible for payments to Serpas. The trial court’s judgment impliedly included a finding that Hartford had not waived its right to contest its total responsibility. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Under the plain language of Labor Code 409.021, Hartford waived its right to contest compensability. The court rejects Hartford’s argument that the section does not apply here, because this is a coverage dispute, not a compensability issue. The court points out that Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission Rule 124.3 provides that a carrier must contest compensability within 60 days in both compensability and liability disputes. “Under rule 124.3, a carrier waives its right to contest the compensability of the injury or its liability for the injury if it has not contested compensability within sixty days. Id. Because Hartford did not contest compensability within sixty days of receiving notice of the injury, it has waived its right to contest not only the compensability of the injury but its liability for the injury.” OPINION:Yates, J.; Yates, Edelman and Guzman, JJ.

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