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LA - Court Properly Limits Damages Available to Heirs of Drowned Worker

03/01/2024 | 0

A Louisiana appellate court upheld a grant of partial summary judgment limiting the potential damages for the seller of a vessel that capsized and killed a father of three. David Wayne Garner worked for Lynx Production Services Inc. In February 2013, Lynx assigned Garner to work on a vessel in the navigable waters off the coast of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The vessel capsized and became submerged, resulting in Garner's death. He left behind three children. The vessel was allegedly owned by Specialty Boat Rentals and had been purchased from Scully's Aluminum Boats Inc. and Scully&... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Upholds Closure of Truck Driver's Claim

03/01/2024 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the closure of a truck driver’s claim for benefits and the denial of his doctor’s request to add a new condition. Case: Stumpf v. Nuverra Environmental Solutions, No. 22-0274, 02/20/2024, published. Facts: Edward Stumpf worked for Nuverra Environmental Solutions as a truck driver. He suffered multiple injuries on Jan. 18, 2019, when the truck he was driving malfunctioned and rolled over a 75-foot embankment. At an appointment the day after the accident, a doctor noted that Stumpf was complaining of bilateral shoulder pain, but no shoul... Read More

NY - Questions of Fact Preclude Summary Judgment

03/01/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that summary judgment for either party could not be granted in a Labor Law case. Case: Melendez v. Truffles II LLC, No. 27287/18, 02/15/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Samuel Melendez allegedly suffered injuries while working at a property owned by Truffles II LLC. He filed suit against Truffles, asserting a claim for a violation of Labor Law Section 240(1), which imposes absolute liability on property owners, general contractors or their agents for failing to provide adequate safety devices to protect workers from harm directly flowing f... Read More

NY - Worker Who Fell Gets Partial Summary Judgment on Labor Law Claim

03/01/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker should have been granted partial summary judgment on his Labor Law claim for an accident that happened as he crossed between two barges. Case: York v. Tappan Zee Constructors LLC, No. 154016/18, 02/15/2024, published. Facts: Kenneth York worked for the LB Electric Co. LLC. He was taken by boat to a work site at the Tappan Zee Bridge where Tappan Zee Constructors LLC was the general contractor. The boat docked at one of two barges on the water. York attempted to cross from one barge to the other without a gangway and slipped on ice&nbs... Read More

Industry Insights

NATL. - Paduda: The Heat Is On

By Joe Paduda
03/01/2024 | 0

Heat exposure has killed 40 workers per year since 2011. Heat and other exogenous factors related to human-caused climate change will likely be the fastest-growing driver of occupational injuries. Fortunately, others are stepping into the gaps caused by a failure of leadership in the federal Department of Labor and outright stupid behavior by some state politicians. (Note that dozens of elected representatives have authored a bill that would require and enforce heat protection standards for workers. Of course, the House can’t e... Read More

MT - MSF Opens Registration for Annual Medical Conference

03/01/2024 | 0

Montana State Fund opened registration for its annual medical conference set for May 15-17 at the One Legged Magpie in Red Lodge. “This year, we will hear from experts in the field on ways we can collaborate to better care for all the needs of injured employees — from medical to legal,” the carrier said in a statement. MSF said its 22nd annual Medical Conference is valuable for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists, medical case managers, vocational rehabilitation consultants, claims examiners and attorneys. Continuing education credits are pending ... Read More

SC - Bill Would Revise Criteria to Serve on WCC

03/01/2024 | 0

Legislation that would revise the criteria for serving on the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is moving through the state Senate. Senate Bill 250, by Sen. Michael Johnson, R-York, would require anyone appointed after July 1 to be a U.S. citizen and at least 32. The bill would also require that commissioners appointed after July 1 have been licensed attorneys for at least eight years and residents of the state for at least five years. The licensed attorney requirement would not apply to commissioners already serving on July 1. SB 250 would also allow commissioners ... Read More

WA - Lawmakers Aim to Enhance Survivor Benefits for Ride-Share Driver Deaths

03/01/2024 | 0

Lawmakers in Washington state have passed legislation that would enhance workers' compensation survivor benefits in deaths involving drivers working for ride-sharing services. The measure, House Bill 2382, passed the Senate in a majority vote on Wednesday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration. It previously passed the House. The legislation would provide death benefits to survivors of ride-sharing drivers who die behind the wheel, regardless of whether they are driving a fare or waiting to receive a trip at the time of death. The bill would amend current law... Read More

AL - Brick Manufacturer Cited for Potentially Deadly Respiratory Hazards

03/01/2024 | 0

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday it cited an Alabama brick manufacturer for exposing workers to a substance that could potentially cause irreversible respiratory diseases. OSHA cited Selma-based Henry Brick Co. Inc. for 11 serious citations and proposed $124,212 in penalties after investigators found the company exposed employees to silica crystalline. Workers who are overexposed to silica crystalline could contract “incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal illnesses,” OSHA said in a statement. Henry Brick exposed workers to airbo... Read More

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Press - California Lawyers Association Accepting Nominations for Special Recognition Awards

02/29/2024 | 0

February 29, 2024 The Workers' Compensation Section of California Lawyers Association (CLA) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting nominations for its 2024 Special Recognition Awards. Nominations are due June 1, 2024. The five award categories and criteria are as follows: Lifetime Achievement - recognizing a person's knowledge of the law, community service, professionalism, and significant lifetime contributions to workers' compensation law practice. Applicants' Attorney - recognizing a lawyer's knowledge of the law, professional cou... Read More

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PA - Court Rejects Worker's Constitutional Challenge to IRE, Modification of Status

02/29/2024 | 0

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania rejected a worker’s constitutional challenge to his impairment rating evaluation and the modification of his disability status. Steven Conrad worked for the Department of Transportation. In July 2005, the DOT accepted liability for Conrad’s back injury and began paying him temporary total disability benefits. In September 2011, Conrad underwent an impairment rating evaluation, which resulted in an impairment rating of less than 50%. Under Pennsylvania law at the time, an employer could request an IRE for a worker who had collected 104 weeks... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Upholds Denial of Worker's Chemical Exposure Claim

02/29/2024 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the denial of a retired worker’s chemical exposure injury claim. Case: Goines v. Standard Corp., No. 22-0167, 02/20/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: In 2019, after Nathan L. Goines retired from his employment with Standard Corp., he filed a report of injury claiming that he had been exposed to a chemical called C8. Goines claimed the chemical exposure affected his stomach and blood pressure. Goines also claimed his date of last exposure was May 14, 2007, some 12 years prior. A claims administrator for Standard’... Read More

NY - Worker Lacks Standing to Appeal Liability Finding

02/29/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured worker lacked standing to appeal a finding that her employer’s insurance carrier didn't have to pay for diagnostic testing she received from an out-of-network provider. Case: Matter of Cross v. New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, No. CV-23-0992, 02/15/2024, published. Facts: Brenda Cross worked for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. She established a workers' compensation claim for an injury to her right knee and consequential injuries to her left knee and ... Read More

NY - Insurer Can Pursue Malpractice Claim Against Attorneys

02/29/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a retrocession insurer can pursue a malpractice claim against the lawyers who represented its insured in a personal injury action. Case: Century Property and Casualty Insurance Corp. v. McManus & Richter, No. 155054/20, 02/15/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Ramon Palaguachi worked for Rite-Way Internal Removal Inc. He sustained injuries when he fell off an unsecured ladder while performing demolition work at a site owned by WFP Tower B LP. Palaguachi filed suit against Tower B and its affiliates, alleging they were liable for his... Read More

CA - DWC Posts Additional Adjustments to Hospital, ASC Fee Schedule

02/29/2024 | 0

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation on Wednesday announced additional changes to the hospital outpatient department and ambulatory surgical centers section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule to align with changes in the Medicare payment system. The division in January posted an order adopting Medicare’s changes to its hospital and ASC fee schedule for 2024. Since then, Medicare adopted additional changes, including revisions to the addenda of the hospital outpatient prospective payment system, or HOPPS. The division said the CMS update of the HOPPS addenda A and B ... Read More

FL - Business Owner Arrested on Quarter-Million Premium Fraud Charge

02/29/2024 | 0

Authorities in Florida said the owner of American Iron Group Corp. was arrested Wednesday on felony charges for allegedly concealing his true payroll to reduce his workers’ compensation premiums by more than $250,000. Gustavo Antonio Munguia, owner of American Iron Group Corp., allegedly failed to report more than $3.1 million in labor costs that contractors paid to his company. The Department of Financial Services said Travelers Property and Casualty Co. of America reported that the business would have been charged an additional $253,000 in work comp premiums if Munguia reported the p... Read More

FL - Senate Passes Bill to Boost Doctors' Pay

02/29/2024 | 0

The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would increase how much doctors are paid for treating injured workers and testifying at depositions in work comp claims. The Senate voted 40-0 to pass SB 362, by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island. The bill would increase the maximum reimbursement allowances for physician services and surgical procedures to 200% of Medicare. Currently, physician services are reimbursed at 110% of the Medicare rate while maximum reimbursement for surgery is 140% of Medicare. At the same time, the bill would increase the witness fee for depos... Read More