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FL - Judge Whiffs in Calculating Pro Baseball Player's Average Weekly Wage

06/14/2024 | 0

A Florida appellate court ruled that a judge of compensation claims erroneously calculated a minor league baseball player’s average weekly wage. Austin Sodders entered into a seven-year minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers as a left-handed pitcher. The contract stated that Sodders’ salary would vary depending on the subclassification he played, and he would be paid in a predetermined amount during each month of the five-month season. During the 2018 season, Sodders injured his left shoulder while playing for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, a single-A team. Under the sub... Read More

WV - Coal Miner Gets Increased Award Despite Improved Condition After Lung Transplant

06/14/2024 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a former coal miner was entitled to an increased impairment award for the worsening of his occupational pneumoconiosis, even though he had undergone a lung transplant that improved his functioning while the claim was pending. Case: Rockspring Development Inc. v. Brown, No. 22-0135, 06/11/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Randy Brown was a coal miner for more than 38 years. After he developed occupational pneumoconiosis, he applied for workers’ compensation benefits. A claims administrator for the employer’s i... Read More

NATL. - Regulatory Preamble Can Support Award of Black Lung Benefits

06/14/2024 | 0

A federal appellate court ruled that an administrative law judge did not err in relying on a regulatory preamble to support an award of black lung benefits to a veteran coal miner. Case: Safeco Insurance v. OWCP, No. 23-1083, 06/10/2024, published. Facts: Richard McLain worked in a coal mine for 18 years. He also smoked about half a pack a day. In 1985, McLain had a heart attack, prompting him to quit smoking and retire. In 2010, a pulmonologist found that McLain suffered from an obstructive lung disease causing chest pain and shortness of breath. Soon after, McLain filed a claim under... Read More

NY - Worker Can't Be Compelled to Provide Affidavit Identifying Prior Cases He Participated In

06/14/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an allegedly injured worker could not be compelled to provide an affidavit identifying which of multiple claims by individuals sharing his name were cases in which he was involved. Case: DiMaggio v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, No. 801207/21 806773/21 813194/21 801133/22, 06/06/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Salvatore DiMaggio allegedly was struck in the face by a metal rod during a construction project at an airline terminal. He filed a workers’ compensation claim against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,... Read More

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Press - Centre for Neuro Skills Promotes Dr. Omesh Singh to Associate Chief Medical Officer

05/08/2024 | 0

Bakersfield, Calif. (May 8, 2024) - Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS), a leader in traumatic brain injury and stroke rehabilitation services, today announced the promotion of Dr. Omesh Singh, D.O. FACOI, to associate chief medical officer. Dr. Singhs extensive knowledge and expertise has been a major asset to us. Im excited to work in lockstep with him to deliver on our promise to give patients the best rehabilitative care science can offer, said Dr. Matthew Ashley, chief medical officer of Centre for Neuro Skills. Since joining CNS in 2015, Singh has served as medical director ove... Read More

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NATL. - Paduda: OSHA Makes Progress on Heat Exposure

By Joe Paduda
06/14/2024 | 0

In a key step to help protect workers from excessive heat, OSHA’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) met to review a draft rule’s initial regulatory framework. While we wait for OSHA’s rulemaking process to wend its way to fruition, inspections are happening under a National Emphasis Program intended to encourage “early interventions by employers to prevent illnesses and deaths among workers during high heat conditions … by adding an enforcement program targeting specific high-hazard industries or activities... Read More

NATL. - WCRI: Inflation Affected Medical Comp Spending in Few States

06/14/2024 | 0

Workers’ compensation prices rose more quickly in states that update their fee schedules based on measures of price changes in the general economy rather than price changes in the medical sector, according to a study released Thursday by the Workers Compensation Research Institute. The report noted Alabama, Delaware, Illinois and Oregon as states that adjust workers’ comp medical fee schedules based on inflation in the general economy, which the report highlighted as 9% by June 2022. Other states, which generally use Medicare rates as the basis for fee schedules, saw smaller incr... Read More

CA - WCIRB Holds Annual Conference July 18

06/14/2024 | 0

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California is holding its 2024 annual conference virtually on July 18. The program will feature a keynote address from WCIRB President and CEO Bill Mudge followed by panels exploring various issues in California’s work comp system. One panel will discuss the current work comp landscape in California, while others will focus on overall trends in the state’s work comp program and trends regarding payments for medical care. Another panel will discuss how California work comp cost drivers compare to national benchmarks. The ... Read More

CA - 9th Circuit: AB 5 Does Not Violate Equal Protection

06/13/2024 | 0

A federal appellate court held that the California Legislature was well within its rights to require different tests to decide whether a gig worker is an employee based on the type of services being provided, for roughly the same reason lawmakers were allowed to require that only some service providers pay fees when filing liens. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Monday's decision in Olson v. California said state lawmakers could have believed that misclassification was a greater problem among transportation and delivery companies than for other app-based services such as dog walki... Read More

OK - Co-Employee Immunity Requires Both Workers to Be in COE/SOE

06/13/2024 | 0

A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that an employee who injures a colleague must be acting within the course and scope of employment when the incident occurs to receive the protection of the exclusive remedy provision of the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. Case: Bayouth v. Dewberry, No. 121897, 06/11/2024, published. Facts: Christopher Bayouth and Leonard Bernstein worked as financial advisers for Morgan Stanley. On June 30, 2022, Bernstein arrived at Morgan Stanley’s Oklahoma City branch, went to Bayouth’s office and shot him. Bernstein was around 90 y... Read More

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05/16/2024 | 0

CENTRE FOR NEURO SKILLS SPONSORS KIDS CHANCE OF AMERICA Centre for Neuro Skills and Kids Chance of California work together to provide educational scholarships for children of injured workers Bakersfield, Calif. (May 16, 2024) Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS), a leading provider of traumatic and acquired brain injury rehabilitation services, announced its Silver Sponsorship of Kids Chance of California (KCOCA). Kids Chance, a national organization, provides scholarships and support to children of workers injured on the job. While Centre for Neuro Skills focuses on providing ... Read More

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UT - Worker With Long History of Ailments Entitled to Temporary Disability Benefits

06/13/2024 | 0

The Utah Court of Appeals upheld a determination that a worker with a long history of health issues was entitled to temporary disability benefits for a closed period after an on-the-job fall. Case: Stage Department Store v. Magnuson, No. 20220825-CA, 06/06/2024, published. Facts: Shelly Magnuson has suffered from chronic pain for many years. In 2010, a doctor described her as having an “off and on” history with Sweet’s syndrome, which caused pain in her back, arms and legs. Magnuson was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and fibromyalgia and had undergone severa... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Upholds Award for Janitor Infected With Legionnaires' Disease

06/13/2024 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court upheld an award of benefits for a janitor who contracted Legionnaires’ disease. Case: Scottish Rite Bodies of Charleston v. Weese, No. 22-0427, 06/10/2024, published. Facts: Thomas W. Weese worked for Scottish Rite Bodies of Charleston as a janitor. In March 2020, he was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. The disease comes from exposure to Legionella bacteria, which proliferate in warm environments and stagnant water, especially in plumbing and cooling systems. Dr. Tom Takubo treated Weese, and his initial diagnosis was reactive airw... Read More

NY - Worker Can't Compel Access to Residence Where He Allegedly Suffered Injury

06/13/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld the denial of a worker’s request to access the inside of a residence where he was allegedly injured to determine if it is a multiple-family dwelling. Case: Espinoza v. Tejeda, No. 2022-04294, 06/05/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Luis Fernando Paucar Espinoza allegedly suffered injuries in a fall from the roof of a property owned by Natanael Tejeda. Espinoza filed suit against Tejeda, asserting claims for violations of the Labor Law. Tejeda denied allegations that the property is a multiple dwelling, but he did not assert the... Read More

CT - Report: Lawmaker Failed to Report Outside Employment While Collecting Comp

06/13/2024 | 0

The Connecticut Insider on Wednesday reported that a state lawmaker received more than $100,000 in workers’ compensation benefits despite having three outside sources of income that he never disclosed. State Sen. Paul Cicarella, R-North Haven, who assumed office in January 2021, received $123,000 in work comp benefits between December 2008 and July 2013 for injuries he sustained while working for the state as a correctional officer. Connecticut Insider reports that during the period Cicarella was a paid employee of East Haven Public Schools as a wrestling coach each winter, he... Read More

CA - Bill to Extend Electronic Payment Authorization Emerges in Assembly

06/13/2024 | 0

A bill that would prevent the sunsetting of a law allowing carriers to use debit cards to pay benefits emerged in the California Assembly. Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, D-Whittier, on Monday amended Assembly Bill 1239 to add language that would postpone the sunsetting of the statute authorizing electronic benefit payments, to Jan. 1, 2027, from Jan. 1, 2025. The amendments make this the third bill from Calderon to extend the electronic benefit card pilot payment program launched six years ago. Lawmakers in 2018 passed SB 880 creating a five-year pilot program allowing debit cards to pay tem... Read More

AZ - House Passes Amended MDMA Therapy Bill for First Responders

06/13/2024 | 0

Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday passed an amended bill requiring instead of allowing the use of the drug commonly known as ecstasy to treat first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder. The state House of Representatives voted 54-5 to pass SB 1677, by Sen. David M. Gowan, R-Sierra. The bill would require work comp coverage for firefighters and peace officers who have been diagnosed with PTSD to include a treatment protocol of midomafetamine — also known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA and sold on the street as ecstasy — if an independent medical examinat... Read More

CA - Survey Reveals Employer Concerns About System Performance

06/12/2024 | 2

While workers’ compensation wasn’t among the top three concerns for California employers who responded to a Workers’ Compensation Action Network survey, more than half of respondents said the system performs poorly. The three most commonly cited concerns among respondents were compliance with labor laws and mandates, providing competitive pay and benefits, and recruiting and hiring employees. Workers’ compensation slotted in as the fourth most common concern, just ahead of employee retention and employee-related litigation. “This survey tells us that the on-the-... Read More