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WA - Appeals Court Says Pet Service App Not Employer, Doesn't Need Comp

06/08/2023 | 0

An online platform that connects pet owners to people providing services such as dog walking or grooming and pockets a percentage of any payments as compensation for the matchmaking is not an employer required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, an appellate court in Washington state ruled. Although there were some indications that A Place for Rover, more commonly known as Rover.com, exercised control through its unfettered discretion over who could use its app to offer or solicit services — and by using GPS to monitor the location of dog walkers — the... Read More

MT - Supreme Court Says Time for Worker to File Claim Was Tolled While He Had No Guardian

06/08/2023 | 0

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that the statute of limitations for a worker’s claim was tolled during the time he had no appointed guardian, and that substantial evidence supported an assessment of attorney fees and penalties against the carrier that contested the claim. Case: Bryer v. Accident Fund General Insurance Co., No. DA 22-0590, 06/06/2023, published. Facts: In July 2017, a plant manager of American Welding & Gas Inc. discovered technician Johnny Lee Sheldon, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound, lying on the floor near a high-pressure cylinder that was releasi... Read More

TX - Self-Represented Worker Waives Arguments He Failed to Raise in Administrative Process

06/08/2023 | 0

A Texas appellate court ruled that a self-represented litigant’s failure to present arguments during the administrative process for his workers’ compensation claim waived his ability to assert them on appeal. Case: Whitehurst v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., No. 14-21-00153-CV, 06/06/2023, published. Facts and procedural history: Anthony Whitehurst was injured in the course and scope of his employment in a motor vehicle accident. His employer’s insurance carrier, New Hampshire Insurance Co., accepted liability for a right wrist contusion, right wrist strain, right wrist... Read More

NY - No Additional Benefits for Injured Court Reporter Whose Disability Didn't Cause Unemployment

06/08/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld a denial of additional benefits to an injured court reporter whose disability had not caused her to leave her job. Case: Matter of Saporito v. Office of Court Administration, No. 534851, 06/01/2023, published. Facts: Barbara Saporito worked as a court reporter. She suffered injuries in a fall from a chair at work in March 2004. The fall disturbed hardware from lumbar fusion surgery performed the prior year to address a non-work-related injury. The hardware was removed in November 2005. Saporito returned to work, but she was terminated in December 2006. Afte... Read More

Industry Insights

NATL. - Young: The WCAB and MSA Approval

By Julius Young
06/08/2023 | 0

A recent California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board panel decision highlights some of the challenges in settling cases with a Medicare set-aside. Kaiser and Sedgwick appealed when the judge approved the workers’ comp settlement but refused to approve the proffered Medicare addendum language. In the case, Irma Dufelmeier v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the WCAB panel denied reconsideration sought by Kaiser Permanente and its administrator, Sedgwick. In denying reconsideration, the WCAB panel adopted and incorporated the report of the assigned workers’ compens... Read More

NY - Worker's Failure to Mention Prior Neck Injury Doesn't Result in Forfeiture of Benefits

06/08/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker who failed to mention to his doctors a prior compensable neck injury after a second industrial accident did not commit fraud. Case: Matter of Updike v. Synthes, No. CV-22-1920, 06/01/2023, published. Facts and procedural history: Lawrence Updike worked as an automotive mechanic. He established a claim for an injury to his low back and a consequential injury to his neck.  After the Workers’ Compensation Board classified Updike as permanently partially disabled, he settled his claim for the neck and back injuries. In 2006, Updike... Read More

TX - TDI Corrects Commissioner's Order

06/08/2023 | 0

The Texas Department of Insurance has corrected language related to the effective date of the recently adopted Commissioner’s Order No. 2023-7932 for NCCI Item E-1410. TDI reported that the order should have included the language “and any in-force policy in effect on and after July 1” in Finding of Fact No. 4, Conclusion of Law No. 4 and the ordering paragraph, but the language was left out by mistake.  DWC announced that the order has been amended nunc pro tunc to add the correct language related to the effective date. The order can be viewed here. ... Read More

NY - IMEs Would Face New Requirements Under Bill

06/08/2023 | 0

A New York lawmaker filed legislation that would amend sections of the state’s workers' compensation law that deal with physicians authorized to conduct independent medical examinations. Assembly Bill 7730, which was introduced Tuesday, would require doctors conducting independent medical exams to do so in an “objective and impartial manner.” The bill would additionally require that IMEs agree to audits to ensure they are complying with state law. If regulators determine that three or more of the five audited records are deficient, the bill would authorize additional au... Read More

TX - DWC Announces 10-Hour OSHA Courses

06/08/2023 | 0

The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation announced two 10-hour OSHA safety courses that are available to Texas employers. The courses are offered at DWC’s new Austin offices at the Barbara Jordan Building and at other locations across Texas. The first, a 10-hour construction course, is an entry-level construction worker two-day class focusing on construction, demolition, repair, painting and decorating. This course is free. The second, a 10-hour general industry course, is a two- or three-day in-person or online course designed to train employers and their employees... Read More

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Press - ReEmployAbility and Work Comp Central Announce Free Webinar: Overcoming Jurisdictional Return-to-Work Challenges

05/10/2023 | 0

ReEmployAbility and Work Comp Central Announce Free Webinar: "Overcoming Jurisdictional Return-to-Work Challenges"  Brandon, FL (May 10, 2023)- ReEmployAbility CEO and Founder Debra Livingston will be hosting a second free, live Work Comp Central webinar in their continued series to educate the worker's ... Read More

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TX - Court Upholds Summary Judgment Dismissing Self-Represented Worker's Appeal

06/07/2023 | 0

A Texas appellate court upheld summary judgment for an insurance carrier based on a self-represented worker’s failure to present evidence raising a fact issue on the challenged elements of a ruling against him. Eric Handy Sr. suffered a cervical sprain/strain and right shoulder sprain/strain at work. His employer’s insurance carrier, Zurich American Insurance Co., stipulated to the compensability of the injuries. Zurich contested Handy’s claim that he was also entitled to benefits for a disc protrusion at C2-C3, C3-C4, C4-C5 and C5-C6. An administrative law judg... Read More

NJ - Supreme Court: Vicarious Liability Under Borrowed Employee Doctrine Is for Jury to Decide

06/07/2023 | 0

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an employer's vicarious liability under the borrowed employee doctrine is presumptively for a jury to determine. Case: Pantano v. New York Shipping Association, Nos. A-19-22 and 087217, 06/05/2023, published. Facts: Philip Pantano worked as a mechanic for Container Services of New Jersey. CSNJ is in the business of repairing shipping equipment such as containers and refrigeration systems. In November 2013, Pantano was attempting to move a heavy piece of industrial equipment with the assistance of Lawrence Giamella and a forklift. As... Read More

NY - No Relief for Employer That Failed to Respond to Worker's Claims of Discrimination, Retaliation

06/07/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an employer was not entitled to relief from its failure to respond to a worker’s claims of discrimination and retaliation. Case: Matter of Nguyen v. CVS RX Services Inc., No. 534702, 06/02/2013, published. Facts: Hung Nguyen worked as a pharmacy service associate and then a pharmacist with CVS RX Services Inc. He was approved for paid family leave between January and March 2018. But upon his return to work, he was allegedly subjected to discrimination and retaliation. According to Nguyen, he had worked for CVS for 13 years before ta... Read More

NY - Self-Insured Employer Remains Entitled to Wage Reimbursement

06/07/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a self-insured employer did not waive its statutory entitlement to reimbursement for wages it paid to an injured employee during his period of disability. Case: Matter of Nelson v. New York City Health & Hospital Corp., No. 534672, 06/01/2023, published. Facts and procedural history: Delon A. Nelson worked for New York City Health & Hospital Corp. He established a claim for injuries to his left arm and shoulder that occurred in August 2013 while he was restraining a patient. NYCHHC, which is self-insured, did not contest the claim. It also ... Read More

WY - DOL Sets Coal Miner Outreach Events

06/07/2023 | 0

The U.S. Department of Labor and its Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation will host a series of outreach events in Wyoming from Tuesday through Thursday for current and former miners and their survivors to file or refile benefit claims for those disabled by black lung. Events will be held as follows: Tuesday: 10-3:30 p.m., Rock Springs Library, 400 C St. in Rock Springs. Wednesday: 10-7 p.m., Campbell County Library, 2101 S 4-J Road in Gillette. Thursday: 10-7 p.m., Wright Branch Library, 305 Wright Branch Library in Wright. The events are the first hosted by the division ... Read More

VT - Governor Vetoes Combined Education and Comp Bill

06/07/2023 | 0

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill that included provisions addressing workers’ compensation surcharges and benefits, citing concerns over an unrelated provision that would have created a new payroll tax to fund state child care programs. The governor vetoed House Bill 217, saying the proposed tax — projected to raise $81.9 million in 2025 and another $92.7 million in 2026 — is regressive, meaning it takes a larger percentage of income from low-wage earners than it does from high-wage earners. The governor said the net result would be lower-income residents... Read More

NM - Selection Committee Accepting Comments on IMEs

06/07/2023 | 0

The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration announced that the committee that selects providers who can perform independent medical examinations will accept comments on applicants through June. Independent medical examinations are neutral exams provided in certain workers' compensation cases when parties dispute a worker's medical treatment or when medical issues need clarification. IMEs can be performed by a single physician or a panel of physicians and specialists. Either party may petition a workers' compensation judge for the worker to be examined. Parties ... Read More