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VA - Senate Passes 'Employment Presumption' Misclassification Bill With Stiff Penalties

By William Rabb (Reporter)
01/28/2020 | 59 | 0 | 9 min read

In a sign that more states are getting serious about misclassification, the Virginia Senate on Monday approved a bill that would stiffen penalties when companies inappropriately consider workers to be independent contractors. Senate Bill 744 is also the latest effort by Virginia's new Democrat-majority legislature to enact a range of progressive and worker-friendly reforms. Employer groups have said they are working to counter the flood of bills. “I've got so many coming at me now I can't keep up with them all,” said Chris Lagow, a lobbyist for the Virginia Chamber of... Read More

KY - New Governor Restores Safety Board That Bevin Had Abolished

By William Rabb (Reporter)
01/28/2020 | 43 | 0

Kentucky's new Democratic governor has restored a workplace safety standards board that his Republican predecessor had eliminated as wasteful and unnecessary. The question that many comp watchers in the state now are asking is whether Gov. Andy Beshear will undo other executive orders that previous Gov. Matt Bevin issued. One of those directives, which met with stiff opposition and litigation, dismantled the Workers' Compensation Nominating Commission. Bevin, who lost to Beshear in last fall's election, in 2018 replaced the commission with a smaller nominating committee,... Read More

IL - Treatment Providers Can't Assert Claim Against Worker's Settlement

01/28/2020 | 38 | 0 | 2 min read

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the proceeds of a workers' compensation settlement are exempt from claims by medical providers who treated the illness or injury. Case: In re Hernandez, No. 124661, 01/24/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: Between 2009 and 2011, Elena Hernandez sustained on-the-job injuries and received medical treatment from the Ambulatory Surgical Care Facility, Marque Medicos Fullerton LLC, and Medicos Pain and Surgical Specialists S.C. In December 2016, she filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the Northern District of Illinois. She reported ... Read More

NE - Supreme Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Review Rejection of Proposed Lump-Sum Settlement

01/28/2020 | 34 | 0

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that an order disapproving an application for a lump-sum settlement of a workers’ compensation claim is not final and appealable. Case: Loyd v. Family Dollar Stores of Nebraska Inc., No. S-19-230, 01/24/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: Cheryl Loyd worked for Family Dollar Stores of Nebraska Inc. She filed a workers’ compensation claim in 2016, asserting she had developed a hernia while unloading a truck. Family Dollar initially denied the claim but later agreed to settle for a lump-sum payment of $150,000, along with an interes... Read More

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Press - Kids' Chance of California Announces 2020 Board Members

01/24/2020 | 80 | 0

Soquel, CA January 21st, 2020 - Kids' Chance of California (KCOCA) --- a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide need-based educational scholarships to the children of California workers who have been fatally or seriously injured on the job is pleased to announce the 2020/2021 Board of Directors:  President - Amy Hanson (Keenan) President Elect - Kristen Chavez (WorkCompCentral) Treasurer - Lynda Stettler (Titan Claims Management)  Secretary - Michael Rydman (Carisk Partners) Immediate Past President - Maria Henderson (UPMC Health Plan)... Read More

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CA - Grinberg: Resignation Kills Civil Suit

By Gregory Grinberg
01/28/2020 | 50 | 0

California workers’ compensation can often make us sad, but there’s so much reason to rejoice, especially when, on those rare occasions, the stars align, the tea leaves land in just the right way and just for a split second, the world makes sense again. What brings about this irrationally optimistic mood? Well, recently the Court of Appeal (4th Appellate District, unpublished) ruled in the case of Kennedy v. MUFG Union Bank that a voluntary resignation as part of a workers’ compensation settlement warranted summary judgment in her civil... Read More

NY - Worker Gets Summary Judgment on Labor Law Claim for Fall

01/28/2020 | 45 | 0 | 1 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim for a fall while attempting to receive an item from a scaffold above. Case: Gutierrez v. 610 Lexington Property LLC, Nos. 10800, 162787/15, 01/16/2020, published. Facts: Flavio Gutierrez suffered injuries while working on a construction project at a property owned by 610 Lexington Property LLC. Coworkers on a scaffold above Gutierrez were trying to pass a heavy concrete form down to him, but he was unable to control its descent and fell backward. Procedural history: Gutierrez fi... Read More

NATL. - Insys Therapeutics Founder Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison

01/28/2020 | 42 | 0 | 1 min read

John Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, was sentenced in federal court to 66 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Kapoor, 76, was also ordered to pay forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined later. A jury in May 2019 convicted Kapoor of a racketeering conspiracy along with four other Insys executives in a scheme to bribe providers to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based pain medication, without regard for medical necessity. Kapoor privately funded Insys as it developed Subsys and was committed to ensuring that the drug was successful... Read More

NATL. - OWCP Slashes Compound Drug Spending, but More Work Needed, OIG Says

01/28/2020 | 45 | 0 | 27 min read

The federal Office of Workers' Compensation Programs has made strides in reducing medication costs, but more work needs to be done, the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General said in a recent report. In its periodic posting of significant concerns, the OIG noted that the OWCP last September had limited initial opioid prescriptions to seven days and only three subsequent refills of seven days each. That should continue to reduce the number of injured federal employees receiving opioid medications, which by fiscal 2019 had reached 43% of all injured federal workers who were r... Read More

WA - Bill Would Allow PTSD Claims by 911 Dispatchers

01/28/2020 | 38 | 0

Emergency dispatchers in Washington state would be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by cumulative exposure to traumatic events, under a bill scheduled for a committee hearing Thursday. Members of the House of Representatives Labor and Workplace Standards Committee will also debate a measure that would require the Department of Labor and Industries to establish best practices for reducing musculoskeletal injuries among health care workers. House Bill 2758, by Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima, would allow 911 dispatchers to file PTSD clai... Read More

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Press - MTI America Names Bea Scott Vice President of National Sales

01/15/2020 | 144 | 0

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (JANUARY 15, 2020) - MTI America announces that Bea Scott has been named Vice President of National Sales. Scott joined MTI in May of 2017 and is a distinguished sales executive with three decades of experience in the workers' compensation, managed care and medical/pharmaceutical industries.  Prior to being named VP of National Sales, Scott served MTI as director of sales, western region. In her new ... Read More

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UT - Bill Would Lower Blood Alcohol Threshold for Contributing Cause Presumption

01/28/2020 | 25 | 0

Utah lawmakers are considering whether to lower the blood alcohol level that triggers the presumption that intoxication is the major contributing cause of a workplace injury. House Bill 11, by Rep. James Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, would reduce the threshold for intoxication to a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .05% from .08%. Utah law also allows for the reduction or termination of disability compensation when a worker is fired for several reasons, including intoxication. The bill would also lower the threshold for determining alcohol intoxication for purposes of triggering... Read More

NM - Decision in Favor of Tribal Sovereignty Leaves Casino Worker Without Recourse for Injury

By Tonika Reed (Reporter)
01/27/2020 | 338 | 0 | 68 min read

A worker at a tribal casino can’t sue her employer in state court over a denied workers' compensation claim, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled. The high court ruled that Gloria Mendoza cannot sue the Isleta Resort and Casino because of the tribe’s sovereign immunity, leaving her with no recourse for her injury through the state’s comp program. The Pueblo of Isleta didn't waive its sovereign immunity as part of the 2015 gaming compact it entered with the state allowing it to operate the casino, the Supreme Court said in its Jan. 16 decision. And the tribe never... Read More

CO - Independent Contractor Test for Unemployment Applies to Comp Cases, Too

01/27/2020 | 165 | 0 | 16 min read

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the independent contractor analysis adopted by the state Supreme Court in an unemployment case also applies in the workers’ compensation context. Case: Pella Windows & Doors Inc. v. ICAO, No. 18CA1908, 01/16/2020, published. Facts: Christopher Pierce began working as a service technician for Pella Windows & Doors Inc. in June 2008. In March 2009, Pella laid off its entire team of 17 service technicians. Immediately thereafter, Pella offered nine of them “service subcontractor agreements.” Pierce was one of the service t... Read More

IL - Primary Jurisdiction Doctrine Can't Be Used to Stay IWCC Proceedings

01/27/2020 | 109 | 0 | 152 min read

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the primary jurisdiction doctrine cannot be used by a trial judge to enter an order staying an administrative proceeding in the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Case: West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. TRRS Corp., No. 124690, 01/24/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: In October 2018, the West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment against the TRRS Corp. West Bend alleged that it issued a workers’ compensation and liability insurance policy to TRRS effective from June 20, 201... Read More

LA - Lack of Credibility, Corroboration Sink Worker's Claim for Benefits

01/27/2020 | 112 | 0 | 44 min read

A Louisiana appellate court upheld the denial of a worker’s post-termination claim for benefits for an unwitnessed accident due to her lack of credibility and the absence of evidence corroborating her version of events. Case: Grant v. McConnell Painting Corp., No. 53,100-WCA, 01/15/2020, published. Facts: Karen Grant worked for the McConnell Painting Corp. from October 2016 until July 2017. In November 2017, Grant filed a workers’ compensation claim asserting she had suffered an injury to her right wrist during her employment with McConnell. Grant claimed she had been working at... Read More