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NATL. - Lawsuit Faults Liberty Mutual, NCCI for Failing to Report Third-Party Recoveries

By William Rabb (Reporter)
10/18/2019 | 139 | 0 | 5 min read

A federal lawsuit charges that Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., with a little help from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, withheld information about subrogation and other savings that could have lowered premiums for thousands of employers across the country. And when the NCCI notified Liberty Mutual and its sister companies of a change in experience modifications and cost reductions, the insurers failed to issue refunds to employers, reads the lawsuit, which proposes to become a class action for policyholders in 35 NCCI states, including Florida, Illinois and Texas. “Specifi... Read More

CA - WCRI: Moderate Growth in Medical Payments Reverses Trend of Decreases Following Reforms

10/18/2019 | 52 | 0 | 4 min read

Medical payments in California are on the rise, but the increase coming out of Senate Bill 863 is more moderate than what happened as the effects of the reforms enacted in the early 2000s waned, according to a new report by the Workers Compensation Research Institute. Medical payments per claim with at least seven days of lost time grew 4% in California in 2017 and 2018, WCRI reported in the 20th edition of its CompScope Medical Benchmarks report for the Golden State. The growth rate compared to annual increases of 6% to 9% from 2005 to 2009. WCRI cited two “major factors” c... Read More

CA - School District Gets Interest on Funds Wrongfully Withheld by JPA

10/18/2019 | 44 | 0 | 2 min read

A California appellate court ruled that a public school district was entitled to interest on the funds that had been wrongfully retained by the joint powers authority that had once been in charge of its workers’ compensation program. Case: De Santa Ana v. Benefit & Liability Programs of California, No. B291829, 10/16/2019, unpublished. Facts and procedural history: On July 1, 1987, the Bellflower Unified School District, Lynwood Unified School District and Paramount Unified School District established a joint powers agreement, creating the Benefit & Liability Programs of C... Read More

FL - Comp Law Doesn't Bar Worker's Claim Against Care Providers

10/18/2019 | 52 | 0 | 6 min read

A divided Florida appellate court ruled that that a worker could proceed with a lawsuit under the Consumer Collection Practices Act against two medical providers who attempted to collect for treatment of a compensable injury. Case: Davis v. Sheridan Healthcare, Nos. 2D17-829 and 2D17-1790, 10/16/2019, published. Facts: Patty Davis worked for JTS Enterprises. She suffered injuries while at work in December 2013 and applied for workers' compensation benefits. In October 2014, Davis had a preoperative chest X-ray taken by Sheridan Radiology Services, of Pinellas. Even though Sheridan ... Read More

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Press - Join MEDVAL at the NWCDC; Find Us in Booth #1401

10/16/2019 | 72 | 0

Join MEDVAL in Las Vegas for the annual National Workers' Compensation and Disability Conference & Expo (NWCDC). This year, the conference runs from November 6 through November 8, 2019. MEDVAL continues to be a proud sponsor of the conference, as the Audio and Visual sponsor, providing the technology needed to deliver a dynamic conference.  For over 25 yea... Read More

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TN - Salem: Board Affirms Opinion on Admissibility of 'Self-Taught' Expert's Testimony

By Jane Salem
10/18/2019 | 49 | 0

The Tennessee Workers' Compensation Appeals Board affirmed a trial court decision denying a motion in limine that sought to exclude an expert’s deposition testimony because the physician had no training in use of the American Medical Association’s Guides, and stated at one point that she could not recall how she arrived at her rating. In Ailshie v. TN Farm Bureau, the employer contended the trial court should have disallowed the doctor’s opinions based on McDaniel v. CSX Transportation Inc. In that case, the Tennessee Supreme Court state... Read More

NY - Worker Loses Appeal Due to Failure to Complete Application

10/18/2019 | 42 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured worker’s failure to complete the Workers’ Compensation Board’s application for administrative review of her claim justified its denial. Case: Matter of Luckenbaugh v. Glens Falls Hospital, No. 527638, 10/03/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Sharon Luckenbaugh worked for Glens Falls Hospital. She established a workers’ compensation claim for allergic reactions affecting her nasal and respiratory systems from chemical exposure at work. Five years later, Luckenbaugh accepted a voluntary separation severa... Read More

NY - Red Cross Volunteer Can't Get Benefits for Face Injury

10/18/2019 | 48 | 0 | 1 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a volunteer for a charitable organization could not receive workers’ compensation benefits for an injury she sustained while providing her services to the group. Case: Matter of Mauro v. American Red Cross, No. 528692, 10/03/2019, published. Facts: Paula Mauro served the American Red Cross as a volunteer. She also worked for a restoration company, which encouraged volunteerism. Mauro received her full salary from her employer while participating in events for the Red Cross during her employment hours, but she received no compensation from the Red C... Read More

FL - Roofing Companies Cited for Alleged Lack of Fall Protection

10/18/2019 | 59 | 0 | 9 min read

Two roofing companies have been cited for allegedly not providing workers with fall protection at a work site in Greenacres, Florida.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Oct. 8 cited Cruz Enterprises & Construction LLC, based in Dover, Florida, and Intex Builders LLC, based in Tampa, Florida. The companies face a combined $83,348 in penalties. OSHA said the companies willfully allowed employees to perform roofing activities without conventional fall protection. OSHA also cited Intex Builders for allegedly allowing employees to operate a forklift without b... Read More

CA - Employer Found Guilty of Lacking Comp Coverage in Wildfire Death Case

10/18/2019 | 62 | 0 | 1 min read

The employer of a man who died while fighting the 2016 Soberanes Fire has been found guilty in Monterey County Superior Court of not carrying workers’ compensation insurance. The employer, Ian Czirban, also was found guilty of two counts of willfully failing to file a payroll tax return and one count of filing a false document, KQED reported. Judge Andrew Liu announced the verdict on Wednesday. The worker, Robert Oliver Reagan III, 35, was driving a bulldozer around a steep slope during the Soberanes fire when the vehicle rolled over, ejecting Reagan and crushing him. Czirban, of Czir... Read More

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Press - Grand Opening Celebration Held for ReEmployAbility's New National Headquarters

10/17/2019 | 46 | 0

Tampa, FL (October 17, 2019) - ReEmployAbility celebrated the grand opening of its new national headquarters September 26, 2019. The new headquarters are located at 521 Lake Kathy Drive, Suite R, Brandon, Florida 33510 and will nearly triple the company's previous office space. ReEmployAbility is the largest national provider of specialty early return-to-work (RTW) services and transitional employment programs. ReEmployAbility's program, Transition2... Read More

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NATL. - Applied Underwriters Sold for $920M

10/18/2019 | 57 | 0 | 1 min read

Applied Underwriters Inc. has been sold to its founder, Steve Menzies, and the Quasha Group for $920 million, Applied announced on Wednesday. The workers’ comp insurer and its subsidiary, North American Casualty Co., were 81% owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Menzies said the deal will allow Applied to expand without worrying about creating conflicts with other workers' comp insurance companies that Berkshire owns. He said construction is continuing on Applied’s new operations center at Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska. Applied employs 800 workers througho... Read More

NV - High Court Hears Former Inmate's Case on Indemnity Benefits

10/18/2019 | 45 | 0

A former inmate’s case against the State of Nevada for paying him only about 50 cents a day following a work-related injury was heard this week by the state Supreme Court. Darrell White fractured his finger while working in a voluntary program with the Nevada Division of Forestry in December 2015, the Nevada Independent reported. White, who was incarcerated at the time, received a nominal wage of $18 to $22 a month and a reduced sentence. Although White was treated after the injury, doctors recommended surgery after his release from prison in July 2016 and he was taken off of work. Wh... Read More

CA - CCWC Seeks Session Proposals for Annual Conference

10/18/2019 | 38 | 0 | 2 min read

The California Coalition on Workers’ Compensation is soliciting session proposals for its 18th annual Legislative and Educational Forum. While the CCWC Conference Committee develops presentations, the organization said interested parties can recommend a session, topic or presenter for consideration in the 2020 program. CCWC is asking that people recommending topics provide a session title and their contact information. Optional information includes proposed session speaker contact information and a description, learning objectives and level of difficulty for a proposed topic. The... Read More

DE - Medical Fee Schedule Has Big Impact in Small State

By William Rabb (Reporter)
10/17/2019 | 262 | 0 | 54 min read

Just a few years ago, Delaware employers were wringing their hands over the fact that the state had some of the highest workers' compensation premiums in the country. The Oregon Premium Ranking Survey listed the state sixth-most expensive in the country in 2016 and fifth in 2018, with an average cost to employers of $2.50 per $100 of payroll — far above the national median of $1.70, shared by Nebraska and New Hampshire. Today, the business community is celebrating after the state Insurance Commission approved a second straight year of double-digit rate decreases. The voluntary ... Read More

MO - Court Upholds PTD Award Granted by Worker's Former High School Classmate

10/17/2019 | 101 | 0 | 27 min read

A Missouri appellate court upheld an award of permanent total disability benefits to an injured worker, finding that a commissioner had properly considered the man's claim despite having been a high school classmate. Case: Nivens v. Interstate Brands Corp. (Treasurer of the State of Missouri), No. WD82132 and WD82136, 10/08/2019, published. Facts: Dale Nivens worked for the Interstate Brands Corp. He was responsible for driving a truck and delivering breads and cakes to grocery stores. This included pushing and pulling a two-wheel cart weighing up to 100 pounds, as well as a four-wheeled... Read More

NATL. - Court Upholds Conviction of Former Mail Carrier for Comp Fraud

10/17/2019 | 120 | 0 | 16 min read

A federal appellate court upheld the conviction of a former mail carrier for lying about his condition and accepting disability benefits to which he was not entitled. Case: U.S. v. Vázquez-Soto, No. 17-1879, 10/01/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Rodolfo Vázquez-Soto worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He began complaining of back issues in 1989 after lifting a heavy tray at work. Vázquez-Soto filed a claim with the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, asserting he had suffered a back injury. The departm... Read More

NY - Police Employee Failed to Link Shoulder Injuries to Work

10/17/2019 | 73 | 0 | 146 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a police department employee failed to establish that her injuries were related to her work of handling evidence. Case: Matter of Barker v. New York City Police Department, No. 526796, 10/03/2019, published. Facts: Nielda Barker worked for the New York City Police Department for 29 years. Her job as a property control specialist involved scanning and storing bags of evidence at the police precinct, tracking and storing evidence, and loading and transporting evidence to storage facilities. In January 2016, Barker informed the department that she was expe... Read More