Hollingsworth worked for Heavy Transport and was fixing a tire on a tractor-trailer hauling a large crane owned by Bragg, when he was crushed to death. The family asserted the employer was uninsured, and per Labor Code 3706 filed a wrongful death claim in civil court stating jurisdiction was proper there rather than the WCAB because of the alleged lack of insurance coverage. Additionally, the family demanded a jury trial on the coverage and jurisdictional issues. The employer stated that Bragg and Heavy Transport were insured under the same ownership, and filed a death claim at the WCAB with a request the civil case be placed on hold to allow the WCAB to address the coverage issue.

The Second Court of Appeal ruled the Superior Court Judge had initial subject matter jurisdiction to address the coverage and related jurisdictional issues; however, jurisdiction is for a judge to decide and not a jury. Hollingsworth v. Heavy Transport, Inc. (2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 605).

[COMMENT: A Court always has jurisdiction to determine if it has jurisdiction, even if ultimately it determines there is none. The employer in this case took the unusual but correct approach to file a claim with the WCAB to bolster its assertion that the Board should be the final arbitrator.]