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January 05, 2005 6:18 PM
Workers' Compensation News - January 5, 2005 Volume 3 Issue 301

- New Report Reveals That Medicare is Covering $23 Billion in Medical Costs That Should be Paid by Workers' Compensation 

- $4.2 Billion Halliburton Asbestos Settlement Given Final Approval by Court 

- Recent Court Decisions: Dinner Not A Deviation from Employment (NJ Supreme Court) 

- Remicade linked to severe hepatic reactions, including acute liver failure, jaundice, hepatitis and cholestasis. 

- 2nd Annual This Year in Workers' Compensation - The Top Issues and Cases - March 8, 2005 

- Medicare Secondary Payer Act - Waivers and Compromises CMS 

- Social Security Announces 2.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2005 Monthly Social Security and Supplemental 

- FDA Statement on the Halting of a Clinical Trial of the Cox-2 Inhibitor Celebrex 

For these stories and others visit our web site http://www.gelmans.com

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WORK STRESS INCREASES HEART ATTACK RISK
Men were 80 percent more likely to have a heart attack if they had experienced a conflict at work within the preceding 12 months. For women, a change in financial circumstances tripled their risk. Men were six times as likely to have a heart attack if they had taken on increased responsibilities at work.
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Work-Stress-Increases-Heart-Attack-Risks-38960.html

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OHIO CASUALTY HAS STABLE RATINGS
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'A-' insurer financial strength (IFS) ratings of Ohio Casualty Group's intercompany pool members (see member list below). In addition, Fitch has affirmed Ohio Casualty Corporation's 'BBB-' long-term issuer rating, as well as the ratings on its outstanding debt (see list below). The Rating Outlook is Stable. 
http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20041221005647&newsLang=en

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RECENT CASES
SPECIAL MISSION EXCEPTION 
Huegel v. City of Newark, App. Div. (per curiam)The compensation judge accurately awarded 10% of partial total to petitioner, president of the Supervisor Officers' Association, finding that he was injured while on a "special mission" while en route to his home to obtain a file he had worked on there, with the intention of returning it to the office that day before he left on vacation the following day; the judge aptly rejected respondent's arguments that the accident here did not arise out of or in the course of petitioner's employment because of the going and coming rule, and that the special mission exception did not apply. 

LIMITATIONS — VACATING DISMISSALS 
Policastro v. Weichert Realtors, App. Div. (per curiam) The compensation judge aptly denied petitioner's motion seeking to vacate the dismissal of her workers' compensation petition, concluding that the motion was untimely, thus depriving the compensation court of jurisdiction to restore the petition. Although petitioner's first motion to restore was timely, when it was denied, her attorney's office somehow did not review or diary the denial and nothing was done to preserve the claim for almost two and one-half years; therefore, the compensation court was deprived of jurisdiction because of petitioner's noncompliance with the statutory one-year deadline prescribed by N.J.S.A. 34:15-54. The court rejects petitioner's estoppel contention, arguing that, because the parties continued to negotiate during the pendency of the motion to restore, and such negotiations, although ultimately unfruitful, were known to the compensation judge, the matter continued to be viable and the compensation judge continued to accept and exercise jurisdiction over the matter. 

SUCCESSIVE INJURIES AND SUCCESSIVE EMPLOYERS — APPORTIONING LIABILITY 
Ezell v. McGlone, et al., Div. of Workers' Compensation (Smith, Jr., S.J.W.C.) Petitioner suffered disabilities of various kinds after he was injured on at least three occasions while working for three successive employers. Many issues were raised by these consolidated cases, including: causation/aggravation, nature and extent of additional permanent disability, how liability for additional disability should be allocated among the employers, and whether the petitioner was made totally and permanently disabled by the combined impact of the three successive injuries. To determine how to affix liability where the successive injuries involved the same body part, the judge applied the "full responsibility rule" discussed in Larson's treatise. To determine whether the petitioner was totally and permanently disabled, the judge applied the "odd lot doctrine" and found the petitioner was not totally disabled. [Decision dated Aug. 27, 2004.] 

PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITY
Mucciolo, Jr. v. Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Div. of Workers' Compensation (Giovinazzi, III, J.W.C.) (15 pp.) Petitioner filed an application for medical and temporary disability benefits to seek reinstatement of psychiatric treatment provided by the respondent. He alleged that he was suffering from severe memory loss, lack of concentration, and other psychiatric problems resulting from a mild concussion he sustained when he was hit on the head by the door of a slot machine he was working on. After considering evidence drawn from three physicians, as well as from an audiotape of unrelated court hearings in which the petitioner represented himself lucidly and intelligently, the judge denies petitioner's motion, concluding that the petitioner was exaggerating his complaints and disabilities and finds that he was most probably suffering from psychiatric problems unrelated to this work accident. [Decision dated Sept. 28, 2004.] 

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Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

2nd ANNUAL HOT TOPICS IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION
March 8, 2005 4-8pm, Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ
http://www.njicle.com/cgi-bin/njicle?SessionID=37&doc=/Seminars/WC_3-8-05.htm

WEST VIRGINIA TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Workers' Compensation Section
April 1, 2005, The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
Workers' Compensation Recoveries While Navigating the Treacherous Waters of The Medicare Secondary Payer Act
http://www.vtla.com/

25th ANNUAL NATIONAL WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE CONFERENCE JULY 2005
July 19-21, 2005, Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
-Managing Workers' Compensation Claims While Navigating the Treacherous Waters of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act
-Trial Demonstration: The Contested Hearing Loss Case
http://www.seak.com/semjul05WC.htm

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