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August 21, 2005 9:38 PM
Workers' Compensation News - August 24, 2005, Volume 3 Issue 310

NJ: WC JUDGES HAVE DISCRETION TO RULE ON VALIDITY OF A TDB LIEN
In a complex decision involving causal relationship, apportionment of liability and reimbursement of a TDB lien that Appellate Division responded to a statement made by the trial Judge, "...I am no longer a Judge, I am a statutory collection agency for the Labor Department," by reversing his decision and remanding the matter for hearing.
"A determination whether temporary disability benefits were available to ...[petitioner] under workers' compensation statute does not constitute a collateral attack upon the findings of the Division of Employment Security. It is instead a proper exercise of the power of the compensation judge under the statute and precedent that govern his awards." . 
Drake v. Micro Warehouse, Inc., NJ App. Div. Docket A-2835-03T3 Decided: 6.22.05
Per Curiam: Judges Fall, Payne & C.S. Fischer
Kristen Schoenberg argued for appellant, Travelers Property Casualty Corp.
Joseph M. Soriano argued for cross-appellant The Chub Group
Thomas W. Polaski argued for the petitioner
Unpublished opinions are available from the Appellate Division at 609-292-7894
Note: A prior memorandum issued by the Division of Workers' Compensation issued on September 3, 2002 states that dispute resolution was to be handled by the TDB Appeal Tribunal.

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ARTICLE: HOW TO HANDLE AN ASBESTOS DISEASE CLAIM UNDER N.J.S.A. 34:15-33
Every case involving an asbestos exposure and resulting asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma should be reviewed for potential Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) asbestos fund involvement. 
The new "Asbestos" statute, N.J.S.A. 34:15-33.3 allows a petitioner, who in unable to identify or locate his or her last employer, or if the last employer is uninsured and insolvent, to receive benefits from the Uninsured Employers' Fund. As well as medical treatment and temporary disability, the statute will allow the UEF to pay permanent disability, a new feature of the UEF.
This 64 page document is rich with checklists, interview information, checklists and complete forms and submission materials. 
By Richard V. Jones, Esq. (Direct your inquiries to Mr. Jones for a copy)
Bressler Amery & Ross, PC, 325 Columbia Turnpike, Florham Park, NJ 07932
T 973-514-1200 - Fax: 973-514-1660
E-mail: rjones@bressler.com

See also the newly (5.16.05) adopted UEF-Asbestos fund Rules
http://www.state.nj.us/labor/wc/forms/NJ_Register051605.pdf

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VT: MEDICAL PAYMENTS-DOCTORS COMPLAIN
Doctors Complain about Workers' Comp Payments
VT to freeze payments at 1995 levels.
http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050810/NEWS/508100328/1003/NEWS02
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ENERGY WORKERS COMPENSATION PROGRAM CONTINUES TO BE PROBLEMATIC
There is a backlog of almost 10,000 radiation claims awaiting evaluation by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, according to federal figures. 
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_2920985

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NJ DIVISION OF WC E-MAIL ALERT SERVICE
Division of Workers' Compensation maintains a free e-mail alert list for new decisions. You will receive an e-mail whenever there has been an update to the Workers' Compensation Decision page http://www.nj.gov/labor/wc/wc-decs.htm. 
To sign up go to: http://www.nj.gov/labor/wc/email_alertlist.htm

Also the NJ DWC has placed its research manual on line with links to cases through the Lexis/Nexis system.
http://www.nj.gov/labor/wc/wc_research_help.html

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CALENDAR
Sept. 29, 2005 (Friday) The Honorable James J. McGovern Retirement Dinner 
The Brownstone House, 351 West Broadway, Paterson, NJ 6:30pm (Cocktail Hour-Dinner) $75.00 per person
Contact: Victor B. Matthews, Esq.
4 Second Avenue, Suite 202
Denville, NJ 07834
Tel 973-627-6778 - Fax 973-627-7440

Sept. 30-Oct. 1: WILG's Worker Justice Summit programming in Kansas City, co-sponsored with IWJ. 
http://www.wilg.org

Nov. 3-6: Association of South Carolina Claimant Attorneys for Workers' Compensation, at The Grove Park Inn and Spa in Asheville, NC

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CASES
New Jersey Jury Awards $19.2M To Railroad Worker For Asbestos, Other Exposures
The family of a deceased railroad worker who alleged exposure to a number of different toxins – including asbestos - was awarded $19.2 million by a New Jersey jury on August 10 (Catherine Fuccilli individually and as executrix of the estate of Ruggiero Fuccilli v. New Jersey Transit Rail Operation Inc., et al., No. 3932-03, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).

Living Meso Sufferer Awarded $10M By New Jersey Jury
A New Jersey jury on Aug. 5 voted 7-1 to award $10 million to a mesothelioma sufferer and his wife for his asbestos-related injuries (William and Doreen Rhodes v. A.O. Smith, et al., No. MID-L-2979-04AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.). 

A reviewing tribunal vacated and remanded a an award based on sensitivity to latex allergies where the trial court failed to decide the synergy or aggravation of the claimants prior allergic sensitivity.
Howard University Hospital v. District of Columbia Department of Employment Services
Dir. Dkt. No. 02-110, 2005 WL 1994143 Decided August 18, 2005

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