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Feds Appeal Decision Upholding Hanford Worker Presumption

Thursday, August 15, 2019 | 130 | 0 | 57 min read

The federal government will appeal a court decision upholding a law that presumes the compensability of comp claims for a host of maladies suffered by workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state, according to a report by the Tri-City Herald.

In June, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington rejected the Department of Justice’s argument that the presumption created by House Bill 1723 violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

The Department of Justice filed notice that it will appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The government argued that the presumption law enacted in 2018 unfairly exposed it to higher liability for workers’ compensation claims by applying the presumption to only federal contractors and the federal government.

The law presumes federal workers have compensable claims for respiratory disease; heart problems experienced within 72 hours of exposure to chemicals at the site; beryllium disease; neurological disease; and leukemia, lung, bone, kidney, thyroid, breast and other types of cancer.

Workers who had claims denied previously can file new claims, under the presumption.

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