Washington Contractor Hit for $1M in Workers’ Comp Premiums and Penalties

A former drywall contractor in Walla Walla, Wash. must pay more than $1 million in delinquent workers’ compensation premiums and penalties.

The Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals recently held Shawn A. Campbell and his spouse personally liable for unpaid premiums, interest and late penalties racked up by his company, E & E Acoustics LLC.

A Washington State Department of Labor & Industries investigation determined that Campbell’s company significantly underreported the hours that its employees worked by failing to accurately report the size of the company’s drywall jobs from April 2007 through June 2009.

Worplace Safety Workers Compensation Worker Injury ConstructionCampbell owes L&I more than $615,000 in premiums, $102,000 in late penalties and $296,000 in interest as of mid-March. The judgment is believed to be one of L&I’s largest holding an employer personally liable for his company’s workers’ comp premiums, interest and penalties.

Any money recovered in the case will be returned to the state workers’ compensation fund.

Campbell has appealed the ruling to Walla Walla Superior Court. The Washington Attorney General represented L&I in the case.

In filings to the Secretary of State, Campbell sometimes listed his employees as co-owners in his company to avoid paying workers’ comp premiums on them, the board decision said. However, in 2011, he failed to list any company officers, prompting the Secretary of State to administratively dissolve the business. L&I assessed Campbell and his spouse personally for the company’s debts after it was no longer operating and the debts remained unpaid.

The board decision stated Campbell’s “failure to pay workers’ compensation assessments was the result of an intentional, conscious and voluntary course of action, and thus was willful.” The board found Campbell is not personally liable for other fees and a record-keeping penalty, which had totaled nearly $39,000.