By its plain language, North Carolina General Statute section 97-10.2(e) provides that an employer may recover from a third-party tort-feasor the amount of workers’ compensation benefits paid by the employer to its injured employee, but that the third-party may raise the employer’s contributory negligence in causing the employee’s injury as a complete defense to the employer’s action. In Outlaw v. Johnson, the North Carolina Court of Appeals considered for the first time whether the “last clear chance” doctrine applied as an exception to the bar on a negligent employer’s ability to recover on its workers’ compensation lien. In this case, a steamroller operator employed by a construction company was injured by a truck driver after the truck negligently collided with the steamroller on the highway. A jury found that the negligence of both the truck driver and the construction company contributed to the operator’s injury, but that the driver had the last clear chance to avoid the accident. Under these circumstances, the construction company argued that it should be allowed to recover against the driver on its workers’ compensation lien, despite the language of N.C.G.S. § 97-10.2(e), because the driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of the operator’s injury. The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that “it is clear from the provisions of [the statute] that it was and is the intent of the legislature that non-negligent employers are to be reimbursed for those amounts they pay to employees injured by the negligence of third parties.” As such, N.C.G.S. § 97-10.2(e) bars a negligent employer from recovery even where a jury has found that the employer’s negligence was not the proximate cause of the employee’s injury. 660 S.E.2d 550 (2008).