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CA - Defendants Get Judgment Notwithstanding Jury's Verdict of Liability for Worker's Damages

02/22/2024 | 0

A California appellate court ruled that the defendants in a dispute over a worker’s on-the-job accident were entitled to a judgment notwithstanding a jury’s verdict of liability, since substantial evidence did not support the finding that the defendants were employers of the worker.  Jorge Guzman Jr. drove a food truck owned and operated by Philma Alvarez and Hector Chavez. On Jan. 11, 2014, after the truck completed its business at one of its stops, the cook asked Guzman to retrieve a table from outside. When Guzman stepped outside, he was hit by a car and seriously injured... Read More

OR - Court Modifies Prior Opinion, Maintains Decision Overturning Closure of Worker's Claim

02/22/2024 | 0

The Oregon Court of Appeals modified its prior decision overturning the closure of a worker’s claim to provide clarification to the factual and procedural history, but it adhered to its ruling. Case: In the Matter of the Compensation of Gage, No. A177315, 02/14/2024, published. Facts: Monika M. Gage worked for Fred Meyer Stores-Kroger Co. She suffered injuries in a workplace fall in 2005. Fred Meyer accepted liability for the injuries, which included a right lumbar strain and a herniated L5-S1 disc. Gage underwent two back surgeries and received an award of permanent disability.... Read More

KS - Senate Passes Reform Bill

02/22/2024 | 0

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a reform bill negotiated by labor and management that would increase benefits and tighten criteria for injured workers to receive future medical after reaching maximum medical improvement. The Senate voted 40-0 to pass SB 430 by the Senate Committee on Commerce. The bill would increase maximum death benefits to $500,000 from $300,000 and permanent total disability benefits to $400,000 from $155,000. It would also increase the maximum temporary total, permanent partial and temporary partial disability benefit to $225,000 from $130,000. SB 430... Read More

NY - Court Says Worker Entitled to Summary Judgment

02/22/2024 | 0

New York’s highest court ruled that an injured worker was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim for injuries resulting from a fall on a plastic covering placed over a stopped escalator. Case: Bazdaric v. Almah Partners LLC, No. 11, 02/20/2024, published. Facts: Srecko Bazdaric tripped and fell on a heavy-duty plastic covering that was placed on the stairs of an escalator to protect it from dripping paint while he was working. Procedural history: Bazdaric filed suit against Almah Partners LLC and others, asserting a claim for violation of Labor Law Section 241(6). S... Read More

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Press - Meet Our Newest Junior Partners!

02/20/2024 | 0

Meet Our New Junior Partners! Join us in congratulating the ten attorneys that have been offered and accepted promotions within the Firm. Extend a warm congratulations to Nina Francisco, Chantell Gonzalez-Nieves, Kenton Trigger, Vanessa Coe, Jacqueline Clemett, Scott Darling, Nick Stark, Eugene Vinitsky, Catarina Do and Darla Gretzner on their achievements. Congratulations!   Read More

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Industry Insights

CA - CAAA: The Left Hand Doesn't Know What the Right Hand Is Doing

By California Applicants' Attorneys Association
02/22/2024 | 0

Think of the California workers’ compensation system. It’s run by the state. It’s supposed to provide no-fault medical treatment and modest financial benefits when a Californian gets injured at work. Now, think about Cal/OSHA. It’s another department run by the state. It’s supposed to relieve pressure on the Division of Workers’ Compensation by reducing the number of Californians who get injured at work. When Cal/OSHA doesn’t do its job, the DWC’s job gets harder, and the worker who shouldn’t have gotten hurt in t... Read More

OK - WCC Sets Fee Schedule Hearing for March 14

02/22/2024 | 0

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission announced plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2024 medical fee schedule on March 14 in Oklahoma City. The commission said it plans to release the proposed fee schedule Monday. System users and members of the public will have until 5 p.m. on March 13 to send written comments on the proposal to OKfeedback@fairhealth.org. The commission will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. March 14 in the Denver Davison Building, 1915 N. Stiles Ave., in Oklahoma City. The proposed fee schedule will be available here. ... Read More

CA - DWC Announces Additional Update to Pathology, Lab Fee Schedule

02/22/2024 | 0

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation on Wednesday announced additional updates to the pathology and clinical laboratory section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule. The division in January announced that it updated the lab and pathology section of the fee schedule to incorporate Medicare’s 2024 annual update. Since then, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new clinical laboratory fee schedule file, the DWC said. The division’s latest order adopts Medicare’s 2024 first-quarter pathology and clinical laboratory fee schedule as modif... Read More

GA - Employer Not Credited for Payments to Worker With 'Concurrent Dissimilar Employment'

02/21/2024 | 0

The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that an employer was not entitled to a credit for the benefits paid to an injured worker with “concurrent dissimilar" employment. Steven Gierum worked as a union crane operator/engineer in New York. Because of the nature of Gierum's work, there were periods when he had no jobs to complete. Gierum and his wife therefore formed Qualassure, a home renovation business, to supplement their income. The Gierums ran the small business together, with Gierum's wife generally in charge of marketing while he performed the physical work of h... Read More

NY - Worker, Defendant Each Get Partial Summary Judgment in Labor Law Action

02/21/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured worker should have been granted partial summary judgment on his Labor Law claim and that one of the defendants should have been granted summary judgment dismissing the claims against it. Case: Devlin v. AECOM, No. 152711/16, 02/08/2024, published. Facts: John Devlin suffered injuries in a fall through an insufficiently guarded opening in the floor of the work site when its unsecured plywood covering shifted as he walked over it. Procedural history: Devlin filed suit against the City University of New York, Stalco Construction Inc., AECOM ... Read More

NY - Widow's Ex Parte Communication With Doctor Doesn't Preclude Death Benefits

02/21/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld an award of death benefits to the widow of a worker who collapsed and died at a construction site. Case: Matter of Hickey v. Skanska-Walsh JV/Pace Car Plumbing LLC, No. 534946, 02/08/2024, published. Facts: John Hickey was a plumber and a union shop steward. On July 13, 2017, Hickey collapsed and died shortly after arriving for work at a construction site at LaGuardia Airport. Hickey’s death certificate indicated that he died from hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with a complication of morbid obesity. Procedural history: H... Read More

NY - Court Partially Revives Worker's Labor Law Claim

02/21/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court partially revived a worker’s Labor Law action arising from an injury that happened while he was helping unload equipment from a vehicle. Case: Triest v. Nixon Equipment Services Inc., No. 918 CA 23-00360, 02/09/2024, published. Facts: Paul Triest allegedly suffered injuries while he was unloading an alignment jack from the back of a van owned by Nixon Equipment Services Inc. Triest’s employer had hired Nixon to repair a defective alignment jack, and Nixon delivered a loaner jack for the employer to use while the repairs were being made. Procedura... Read More

NATL. - ATF Medical Promotes Grace Carter to SVP of Finance and Operations

02/21/2024 | 0

ATF Medical on Tuesday announced the promotion of Grace Carter to senior vice president of finance and operations. In her new role, Carter will oversee the company’s finance and operations team, including human resources and information technology, and she will manage security, privacy and accreditation. Carter joined ATF Medical, a national provider of complex rehabilitation equipment and home modifications in workers’ compensation, more than 10 years ago. Most recently, she served as executive director of operations and finance. Before ATF Medical, she worked for Washingto... Read More

CA - DWC Closing San Jose Office Thursday for Move

02/21/2024 | 0

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced that its San Jose office will be closed Thursday and Friday as it moves to a new location. The San Jose office is moving to 224 Airport Parkway, Suite 600. “To accommodate the move, the San Jose district office will operate on a virtual basis on Thursday, Feb. 22, and Friday, Feb. 23,” the DWC said in a statement. “All in-person trials and expedited trials have been rescheduled. All conferences will proceed as scheduled on the AT&T teleconference lines.” The division said office phone numbers will r... Read More

SC - WCC Announces Move Into Next Phase of Legacy Modernization Program

02/21/2024 | 0

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission announced the move into the next phase of its legacy modernization program that makes new eFile and ePay enhancements available for external stakeholders. The new eFile and ePay options provide easier access and better service for claimants, carriers, attorneys, self-insured employers and trading partners, the WCC said in a statement. They allow parties to submit forms and pay the applicable fees and fines electronically. The commission said users will not need to re-register or create a new account to use the electronic filing and pa... Read More

TX - DWC Seeks Input for Future Rulemaking Projects

By Steve Nichols (News Contributor)
02/21/2024 | 0

The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation seeks input on future rulemaking projects. DWC is specifically interested in suggestions for new rules or revisions to the agency’s current regulations. DWC wants details and background information for each rulemaking suggestion that is submitted by stakeholders. Commenters can submit multiple suggestions by clicking "submit another response" after submission of a comment. DWC has provided a website-based submission portal to submit suggested rulemaking projects. The portal is available here. ... Read More

NY - SWCB Announces Webinars for Workers, Advocates and Employers

By Steve Nichols (News Contributor)
02/21/2024 | 0

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board announced free webinars for employers, injured workers and their advocates. The webinar for injured workers and their advocates — "Workers’ Comp 202" —  is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Feb. 28. The board said the session will take a deeper dive into best practices workers can use to access their workers’ compensation benefits. The webinar will cover the following topics: Understanding the labor market attachment. Details on benefit periods and how benefit rates are calculated. The importance of item... Read More