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KS - Court: Contractor Liable for Benefits Paid to Employee of Uninsured Subcontractor

06/11/2021 | 0

The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled that the state Workers’ Compensation Fund can recover the costs of the benefits it paid to an insolvent subcontractor’s injured employee. Facts of the case were not disputed. General contractor Trademark Inc. hired Doroteo Ballin, the sole proprietor of Ballin Co. LLC, as a subcontractor. Juan Medina worked for Ballin. While he was working on the Trademark project, he suffered injuries in a fall from a ladder. Medina filed a workers’ compensation action, but Ballin didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford to pay any compensati... Read More

AR - No Benefits for Worker Injured While Escaping Fire

06/11/2021 | 0

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled that a worker was not entitled to benefits for his injuries from jumping out of a second-story window to escape a fire while off duty. Case: Lopez v. James Divito Racing Stable, No. CV-20-577, 05/26/2021, published. Facts: Juan Lopez worked for the James Divito Racing Stable as a hot walker. His job involved walking horses after a training session or a race to cool them down, and he made $350 a week. Lopez worked for Divito from 5:30-10:30 a.m. each day. In addition, Lopez worked when Divito had horses running in races, which happened about 25 times ... Read More

NY - Man Forfeits Benefits by Failing to Disclose Work for Illegal Gambling Operation

06/11/2021 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld the forfeiture of a worker’s benefits after his conviction for unlawful gambling, finding he had worked by engaging in bookmaking with others. Case: Matter of the Claim of Kornreich v. Elmont Glass Co., No. 531169, 05/27/2021, published. Facts and procedural history: Joseph Kornreich worked for the Elmont Glass Co. He established his entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits after he suffered an injury to his neck and back in 2007. The claim was amended to include consequential depressive disorder. In 2014, Kornreich pleaded guilty to ... Read More

NY - Attorney's Undisclosed Conversations With Doctors Lead to Denial of Widow's Claim

06/11/2021 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld the dismissal of a widow’s claim for benefits because her witnesses' testimony was tainted by undisclosed communications with her attorney. Case: Matter of the Claim of Goutermout v. County of Oswego, No. 532039, 05/27/2021, published. Facts and procedural history: Terri Goutermout’s husband died at work. She filed a workers’ compensation claim, supported by the opinions of Drs. Stephen Nash and Karl Hafner. Nash, an independent medical examiner, opined that the man's death was employment-related. Hafner was th... Read More

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Press - Announcing Deconstructing Comp: a New Podcast

06/08/2021 | 0

New podcast Deconstructing Comp peels back the layers of the workers' compensation industry, one conversation at a time. Tampa, Florida (June 8, 2021) - In Deconstructing Comp, seasoned workers' compensation professionals, Yvonne Guibert of Guibert Services, LLC and Rafael Gonzalez, Esq. of Cattie & Gonzalez, PLLC collaborate to bring a new podcast focused on the workers' compensation industry at large. In a curious, fun and guest-focused season, Yvonne and Rafael chat with industry experts to peel back the layers of the complex workers' compensation industry, one person, ... Read More

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Industry Insights

TN - Salem: Appeals Board Instructs on Parking Lot Cases

By Jane Salem
06/11/2021 | 0

The Appeals Board recently released an opinion affirming a trial court’s denial of summary judgment. The ruling focused on whether the movant met its burden of production. But also, the board’s opinion revisited a significant Supreme Court ruling about injuries in parking lots, concluding that the case remains good law. Further, whether the employer owns or maintains the lot isn’t determinative. In Rowe v. Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., Tina Rowe left the work building to retrieve a headset from her car for use in a work-related call. Her car was p... Read More

NY - Bus Driver Denied Benefits After Defending Couple During Lunch Break

06/11/2021 | 0

A New York City bus driver was denied workers’ compensation benefits after he was injured on his lunch break defending a couple who were attacked, according to a local news outlet. Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker Tommy Lau was injured in March after he attempted to step between the couple and a man who “tried to intimidate them and yanked shopping bags from their arms,” news station WNBC reported. Lau reported that he was punched and spat on. He said he has missed work since the incident due to complications from his injury, which include fainting spells, accor... Read More

CA - Vaccinated Workers Could Forgo Masks Later This Month if Cal/OSHA OKs New Rules

06/11/2021 | 0

Fully vaccinated employees could soon be allowed to stop wearing masks if the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety approves new COVID-19 guidelines. Cal/OSHA’s Health Standards Board on Wednesday voted to withdraw updates to its temporary emergency COVID-19 workplace standards, and board members could rule on new mask guidelines as early as Thursday. COVID-19 workplace standards for employers that were approved last November will remain in effect for now, according to the Department of Industrial Relations. Wednesday’s vote came during a special meeting to discu... Read More

TX - Study: Workers' Comp Claims Jumped 34% in 2020

06/11/2021 | 0

Despite the economic fallout during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Department of Insurance says workers’ compensation claims rose 34% last year, according to a recently released study. “Although COVID-19 caused a brief shutdown for some jobs and moved others to remote work, the total number of workers’ compensation claims reported to DWC in 2020 was about 34% higher than in 2019,” the study states.  The rise in COVID-related occupational disease claims has “temporarily interrupted” a two-decade trend in Texas, where fewer comp claims were reported e... Read More

NATL. - WCRI Webinar to Cover Interstate Variation in Drug Trends

06/11/2021 | 0

The Workers Compensation Research Institute is hosting a free webinar June 24 covering its recently released "FlashReport, Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2017Q1 to 2020Q1." Two of the study’s authors, Dr. Vennela Thumula and Dongchun Wang, will discuss its key findings and addresses questions including: Which drug groups make up the most prescription drug payments in workers’ compensation? Are payments for opioids and compounds still decreasing, and which groups are taking their place? How much interstate variation is t... Read More

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Press - Orchid Medical To Significantly Expand Its Workforce And Operations By 2022

06/08/2021 | 0

ORLANDO, Fla., June 8, 2021 - Orchid Medical, one of the fastest-growing providers of ancillary medical management solutions in the workers' compensation industry, today announced the company's strategic growth plan to further increase its workforce and operations by 2022 which marks the 20th anniversary of its official launch. The expansion includes numerous new positions within the company's ancillary operations at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida. "Over the next five years we are planning for continued steady growth and have implemented plans to add new positions withi... Read More

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CA - CWCI 2021 Case Law Update Program Available On Demand

06/11/2021 | 0

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute announced that its five-hour case law update is available as an on-demand webinar. CWCI presented its 23rd annual California Workers’ Compensation Case Law Seminar as a live online event. The program, presented by defense attorneys Saul Allweiss and Richard Jacobsmeyer, applicants’ attorney Elizabeth Hudson, and moderated by CWCI general counsel Ellen Sims Langille, provides real-world, practical insight from both sides of the courtroom in an entertaining and enlightening way. In addition to providing updates on recent... Read More

FL - DWC Schedules Regulatory Workshop

06/11/2021 | 0

The Florida Division of Workers' Compensation on June 30 will hold workshops to gather public input on rules relating to provider billing and reporting responsibilities, as well as carrier authorization and bill review requirements. The workshop regarding 69L-7.730, “Health Care Provider Medical Billing and Reporting Responsibilities,” is at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be held online and can be accessed here. A copy of the workshop hearing notice is here. In addition, the workshop regarding 69L-7.740, “Insurer Authorization and Medical Bill Review Responsibilities,... Read More

ID - Industrial Commission Lifts Pandemic Restrictions

06/11/2021 | 0

The Idaho Industrial Commission lifted pandemic restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated. “Individuals who are fully vaccinated may enter commission premises and offices and will not be required to wear a mask, nor will they be required to practice social distancing while in commission premises or offices,” the commission said in a June 9 order. The commission noted that mask use and social distancing may be required at the discretion of a hearing officer. People who are not fully vaccinated will be required to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing. The... Read More

CA - CIC Files Opposition to Lara's Dismissal Motion; Judge Could Rule on Case Later This Month

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
06/10/2021 | 0

A federal judge later this month could rule on a lawsuit filed against the California Department of Insurance by a carrier alleging the department violated its constitutional rights by securing a conservation order and blocking its planned merger with another entity in New Mexico. California Insurance Co. last week asked a federal judge in Sacramento to set aside a recent motion filed by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, whose attorneys are asking the court to dismiss the insurer’s complaint because, among other reasons, San Mateo County Superior Court should maintain jurisd... Read More

OH - Terms of Indemnity Agreement Don't Defeat Subcontractor's Immunity Under Comp Law

06/10/2021 | 0

An Ohio appellate court ruled that an indemnity agreement between an equipment rental company and a subcontractor could not overcome the subcontractor's immunity under the workers’ compensation law. Case: Griffith v. MacAllister Rental LLC, No. C-200311, 05/26/2021, published. Facts: Architectural Glass served as a subcontractor on a large construction project in Cincinnati. It rented a boom lift from MacAllister Rental LLC. Both companies are located in Indiana, but MacAllister agreed to deliver the lift to the job site in Ohio. Architectural Glass promised to indemnify Mac... Read More

NATL. - Court Rejects Claims for Exposure to Radiation at B-52 Crash Site

06/10/2021 | 0

A federal appellate court upheld the dismissal of Defense Base Act claims filed by civilian personnel who allegedly were exposed to radiation while assisting in the cleanup of a military aircraft crash site. Case: Carswell v. E. Pihl & Sons, No. 19-1630, 05/27/2021, published. Facts: In January 1968, a B-52 bomber carrying four nuclear weapons crashed eight miles from the Thule Airbase in Greenland. The crash destroyed the weapons, releasing radioactive materials, including plutonium. Soon thereafter, the Air Force began a cleanup effort dubbed operation "Crested Ice," wherein... Read More

OK - Court Upholds Reduction of Firefighter's PPD Award

06/10/2021 | 0

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled that an injured firefighter’s permanent partial disability award was properly subjected to a reduction by the wages he received. Case: Martin v. City of Tulsa, No. 118178, 05/26/2021, published. Facts and procedural history: James Martin is a firefighter for the City of Tulsa. He injured his wrist at work in 2017. Martin was unable to work for four months and the city continued to pay his full wages. Later, Martin secured a permanent partial disability award of $19,896.80 for a 28% impairment to his right wrist. Since the wages Martin r... Read More