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MO - Court Reinstates Jury Verdict for Worker on Discrimination Claims

05/30/2024 | 0

The Missouri Court of Appeals reinstated a jury’s verdicts in favor of an injured worker on his disability discrimination claim. Scott Caldwell worked for the UniFirst Corp. as a district sales manager. In January 2014, Caldwell sustained an injury while covering a service route for one of his subordinates. His physician diagnosed him with a disc extrusion and left lumbar disc protrusion.  Caldwell received steroid injections to manage the pain, and was able to return to work with another employee working as his assistant. In November 2014, Michael Dean Seever II became Caldwell&... Read More

AZ - Court Upholds Worker's Entitlement to Further Medical Care

05/30/2024 | 0

An Arizona appellate court upheld a determination that a worker was entitled to additional treatment as he had not reached a medically stationary state. Case: Tenet Health System Medical v. Industrial Commission, No. 1 CA-IC 23-0026, 05/21/2024, unpublished. Facts: Nicholas Klintz worked as a pharmacy technician for Tenet Health System Medical. He fell while at work in April 2021. Afterward, Klintz complained of pain in his leg and back. His doctors concluded that the pain might stem from a nerve stretch injury or irritation. In July 2021, Klintz underwent an independent medical examination... Read More

VA - No Benefits for Poultry Plant Worker's Injuries from Unexplained Fall

05/30/2024 | 0

The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a poultry processing plant worker’s claim for injuries from an unexplained fall. Case: Gutierrez v. Perdue Farms Inc., No. 0176-23-2, 05/21/2024, unpublished. Facts: Manuel Meza Gutierrez worked for Perdue Farms Inc. at a poultry processing plant. He fell while at work in January 2021, suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A surveillance camera had filmed Gutierrez walking to a shed on the Perdue property, then fall to the ground. He lay motionless on the ground for about two minutes, then sat up and crawled to a nearby building. Acco... Read More

AL - Supreme Court Issues Writ Directing Dismissal of Contract, Bad-Faith Claims Against Carrier

05/30/2024 | 0

The Alabama Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus compelling a trial court to dismiss the breach-of-contract and bad-faith claims against an insurance carrier arising out of a roofing worker’s fatal accident. Case: Ex parte National Trust Insurance Co., No. SC-2023-0515, 05/24/2024, published. Facts: The Lockheed Martin Corp. hired the Whaley Construction Co. as the general contractor for a project at a facility in Troy. Smith's Inc. of Dothan was hired as a subcontractor to do the heating, ventilation and air conditioning work. Phoenix II Contracting LLC was hired as a subcontra... Read More

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Press - American Heart Association Honors Centre for Neuro Skills With Major Award

05/01/2024 | 0

Media Contact: Robin Carr Landis Communications Inc. 415.766.0927 CNS@landispr.com   American Heart Association Honors Centre for Neuro Skills with Group Stroke Hero Award Bakersfield, Calif. May 1, 2024 American Heart Association (AHA) awarded Centre for Neuro Skills, a leading brain injury and rehabilitation provider, with the Group Stroke Heroes award. The group hero award recognizes a group committed to educating, inspiring, and bringing awareness to stroke. CNS was selected among other stroke support groups, stroke teams, families, private associations, medical faciliti... Read More

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Industry Insights

CA - Kamin: EDD's Understaffing and Tech Problems is Delaying Settlements

05/29/2024 | 0

The Legislature’s failure to fully fund the Employment Development Department has led to a situation where countless settlements are being delayed, and the department’s annual revenues are being artificially depressed due to understaffing. The dereliction of the Legislature’s duty to fully fund our friends at the EDD has created a untenable situation where there are too few EDD representatives to do basic tasks, such as: Answer phone calls. Provide basic information such as: How much has EDD paid? At what rate? For which body parts? Which doctor certified EDD? Negot... Read More

CA - Ethics Committee Finds One Incident of Misconduct in Two Years

05/30/2024 | 0

The Workers’ Compensation Ethics Advisory Committee found a single instance of misconduct in complaints filed against comp judges in 2022 and 2023, according to a pair of reports the California Department of Industrial Relations recently posted to its website. In all, the Workers' Compensation Ethics Advisory Committee received 49 complaints over the last two years. Committee members determined that 14 of the complaints warranted further investigation and of those complaints, only one involved actual judicial misconduct. The department said in an annual report for 2022 that the com... Read More

NATL. - Comp Combined Ratio Deteriorates Slightly in 2023

05/30/2024 | 0

The combined ratio for the U.S. workers’ compensation market worsened slightly in 2023 even as premiums increased year over year, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis. The workers’ comp combined ratio increased to 84.9% from 84.5% this year, as direct premiums written and net premiums written also grew to $56.69 billion and $48.02 billion, respectively, according to the report released Tuesday. Although higher than the previous year, 2023’s combined ratio remained stronger than the five-year peak of 88.1% in 2021, S&P said, with analysts stating t... Read More

UT - Court Upholds Award of PTD Benefits for Former Walmart Worker

05/29/2024 | 0

The Utah Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a former Walmart’s worker’s claim for permanent total disability benefits. Darlene Rouse worked for Walmart. She had physical limitations related to a vein condition. Walmart allowed her to use a motorized cart and a grabbing tool to perform her job duties. On July 22, 2018, Rouse was walking down a warehouse aisle and pivoting on her left foot to turn when she slipped and fell on the concrete floor. After the fall, Rouse developed a hematoma in her left leg. A doctor debrided the hematoma. Rouse had swelling and mild paresthesia in... Read More

TX - Public School Employer Has Immunity from Civil Liability for Retaliatory Discharge Claim

05/29/2024 | 0

A Texas appellate court ruled that a public school district was immune from civil liability to a former employee on her retaliatory discharge claim. Case: Conroe Independent School District v. Osuna, No. 09-22-00424-CV, 05/23/2024, published. Facts: The Conroe Independent School District hired Maria Osuna as a custodian in 2018. According to Osuna, she was in a school library in August 2020 while others were spraying it with a chemical disinfectant, and she was accidentally sprayed in the face. Osuna alleged she began feeling sick after inhaling the spray. The district sent her home until ... Read More

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Press - Veteran Industry Expert Richard "Jake" Jacobsmeyer Joins MS&A to Enhance Workers' Comp Practice

05/24/2024 | 0

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 24, 2024) - Michael Sullivan & Associates LLP (MS&A) announced today that Richard "Jake" Jacobsmeyer has joined the firm in its Workers' Compensation Practice. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Jacobsmeyer was a partner at Shaw, Jacobsmeyer, Crain & Claffey. "We're delighted to welcome Jake to the firm," said Megan ... Read More

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NE - Court Upholds Finding on Compensability for Knee Injury, Overturns PTD Award

05/29/2024 | 0

The Nebraska Court of Appeals upheld a finding of compensability for a worker’s knee injury, but overturned the award of permanent total disability benefits as unsupported by adequate factual findings. Case: Duenas v. Papillion Foods, No. A-23-563, 05/21/2024, published. Facts: Marlene Ventura Duenas began working for Papillion Foods in April 2021. Duenas had previously established workers’ compensation claims that stemmed from injuries in 2016 and 2017 involving both knees and her lower back. She also had prior diagnoses of arthritis in both knees. Duenas saw her doctor for a w... Read More

NATL. - Federal Court Says it Lacks Jurisdiction Over Petition Filed Day Too Late

05/29/2024 | 0

A federal appellate court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over a petition for review of a denial of survivor’s benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act filed one day too late. Case: Sloan v. Drummond Co., No. 20-13179, 05/23/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Gurstle Sloan worked as a coal miner for the Drummond Co. for 16 weeks. After he died, his widow filed a claim under the Black Lung Benefits Act. An administrative law judge denied the widow’s claim. On Dec. 3, 2019, the Benefits Review Board affirmed the ALJ’s denial of the widow’s claim. The w... Read More

WI - WCRI: TD Duration Remains Shorter Despite Recent Growth

05/29/2024 | 0

An increase in average temporary disability duration drove a nearly 10% increase in average indemnity benefits per claim in Wisconsin in 2022, according to a recent study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute. Despite the increase, WCRI said the duration of temporary disability per claim in Wisconsin remained the lowest of 16 other states reviewed as part of its CompScope Benchmarks study. “Wisconsin’s growth in indemnity was driven by growth in metrics like wages, but mostly by the duration of temporary disability,” said Sebastian Negrusa, vice president of rese... Read More

NATL. - OccMD Names Cheryl Killion Director of Nurse Case Management

05/29/2024 | 0

Medical management firm OccMD on Tuesday announced the appointment of Cheryl Killion as the new director of nurse case management effective June 1. Killion has served as a senior nurse case manager at OccMD for 12 years and is well-positioned to lead a team of nurses providing case management, the company said. Before joining OccMD, Killion served in nursing roles with Denton Independent School District in Texas and Medical City Healthcare. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and is a registered nurse and certified case manager. Killion succeeds Diane Hollida... Read More

MO - Second Injury Fund Not Liable for Worker's PTD

05/28/2024 | 0

The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a determination that the Second Injury Fund was not liable for a worker’s permanent total disability benefits for a claimed psychological injury. Norma Huffman worked for WireCo World Group for approximately 28 years. During this time, she began taking prescription medication for migraines. Over the years, she would miss work because of chronic migraines and debilitating headaches. Huffman also suffered from anxiety, depression, diabetes and hypertension. She took Prozac and clonazepam for her anxiety. Huffman took a six-month voluntary layoff... Read More

MT - Court Orders DLI to Decide Reasonableness of Worker's Refusal to Attend Appointment

05/28/2024 | 0

The Montana Workers’ Compensation Court ruled that the Department of Labor & Industry needed to make a finding as to the reasonableness of a worker’s refusal to attend a therapy appointment before the agency could allow a carrier to suspend benefits. Case: Neisinger v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., No. 2024-00340, 05/22/2024, published. Facts: Michael Neisinger sustained injuries in May 2015 when a high-pressure water jet stream tore into his left leg, spun him around and knocked him off a platform. Neisinger’s employer had workers’ compensation coverage with New ... Read More

NY - Court Upholds Summary Dismissal of Claim for Car Door Injury

05/28/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld the summary dismissal of a worker’s Labor Law claims against property owners for an alleged injury from closing the door of a vehicle on her finger. Case: Marshall v. Manuel, No. 2022-02223, 05/22/2024, published. Facts: Laniece Marshall allegedly suffered injuries when she closed her right pinky finger in the door of a vehicle parked near premises owned by Virginia and William Manuel. Marshall asserted that her injury occurred in the course of her employment as a meter installer for Aclara Technologies LLC. Procedural history: Marshall filed suit ag... Read More