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December 01, 2001 12:40 PM
Workers’ Compensation News - December 1, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 35

 ASBESTOS

CONGRESS POSTPONES ACTION ON ASBETSOS COMPENSATION BILL FOR AT LEAST 4 MONTHS
As the Senate rushed toward its holiday adjournment, the backers of the so-called Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (S. 1125) gave up their efforts for the year. On Nov. 22 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) told the Reuters news agency, "It is clear we still need a little more time for discussion. There will, however, be a limit to these discussions because we must act."
http://www.nycosh.org

WIDOW AWARDED COMPENSATION IN BRITAN
Mr Chapman remembered workers throwing asbestos snowballs 
A widow whose husband died of MESOTHELIOMA after working on Swindon's railworks in the 1940s, has been awarded £100,000 in compensation. 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/3242526.stm

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CALIFORNIA - THE DISMATLING OF THE SYSTEM

DEMOCRATS MOVE TO REPEAL RECENT INCREASE IN BENEFITS
Workers' comp law may face Senate repeal. Democrats seize on governor's charge that reforms are 'bogus." SF Chronicle reports, The system costs employers & insurance companies $29 Billion each year, which will amount 6.8% of every employee's salary.
http://www.sfgate.com

MEDICAL COSTS -- AN ALLEGED $7,000 EPIDURAL INJECTION
For the past six years, growers in the Salinas Valley have waged a quiet war with a medical clinic that arrived in town one day and began treating injured farmworkers in ways unheard of.
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/7345185.htm

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SMOKE-FREE WORKPLACES

MASSACHUSETTS GOES SMOKE FREE
Governor Romney Says He Will Sign Smokefree Workplace Bill
MA to join CA, DE, NY, CT, and ME as nation's 6th smokefree workplace state
State Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian applauded the governor's support. "We had far more than enough votes necessary to override a veto'' said Koutoujian, the House chairman of the Health Care Committee, "but it is good that the Governor is doing this."
Massachusetts will join California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, and Maine as the nation's 6th smokefree workplace state.

DELAWARE 1ST YR SMOKE FREE
Celebrates First Anniversary of Smokefree Workplace Law: Business good, compliance high; Law will reduce state's high cancer rate
www.smokefree.net/alerts.php

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PROCRIT USE HALTED
Drug Company Halts Trials of Procrit
Several clinical trials of a widely used anemia drug have been halted in the last few weeks after patients developed a higher-than-expected number of blood clots, according to doctors and Johnson & Johnson, the seller of the drug. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/27/business/27drug.html?th

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CHEMICAL INDUSTRY’S SECRET PLAN TO ATTACK CALIFORNIA’S ANTI-TOXICS TREND
Memo Calls for Phony Front Groups, Spying on Activists
The chemical industry plans to conduct a covert campaign attacking the growing movement in California for more chemical safety testing, with tactics including the creation of phony front groups and spying on activists, according to an internal American Chemistry Council (ACC) memo obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG).
http://www.ewg.org/briefings/acc/

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EMPLOYER RATE FRAUD
West Virginia Workers' Compensation system officials revealed last week that an audit of 2,238 employers indicated more than half reported incorrect wage data to the state. More than three-fourths of those submitting incorrect reports understated wages paid to employees.
http://news-register.net/edit/story/1128202003_edt01.asp

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St. PAUL & TRAVELERS MERGE 
Increased rates anticipated
The merger between St. Paul Cos. and Travelers Property Casualty Corp. means one less choice for workers' compensation insurance and could bring higher premiums for other insurance products
St. Louis Business Journal
http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2003/11/24/story5.html

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CASES

FLIGHT ATTENDANT DENIED WC BENEFITS AFTER 9-11 TRAGEDY
This case arises out of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Petitioner is a flight attendant for United Airlines (United). She was scheduled to work Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco on September 11, but several days earlier she had requested and received the day off. Consequently, she was not aboard the flight when it was attacked by terrorists and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. After learning of the crash, and the horrific way her fellow flight attendants died, petitioner developed post-traumatic stress syndrome, for which she sought and received medical and temporary total disability benefits. The workers' compensation judge also ordered United to pay petitioner's counsel fee. The judge stayed his order pending this appeal.
KIM STROKA v. UNITED AIRLINES
http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a4274-01.opn.html

Flight attendant is denied workers' comp over 9/11 
Woman took day off but claimed disability
This is the legacy of Sept. 11, 2001: Even the lucky ones suffer. 
United Airlines flight attendant Kim Stroka had been scheduled to work Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco, but took the day off to look after her daughter. She was on her way to pick up the girl from school when she learned the plane had been hijacked by terrorists and crashed in Shanksville, Pa., killing all aboard. 
Star Ledger
http://www.nj.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-1/106991379732460.xml?starledger?ntr

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QUOTE
"Gov. Schwarzenegger ignores the root causes of soaring premium rates - past carrier irresponsibility and current profitability," charged Art Azevedo, president of the California Applicants' Attorneys Association, at a Capitol news conference. 
http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2003/11/24/daily21.html

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