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Iowa Court Liberalizes Latex Claims

In a landmark case, the Iowa Supreme Court decided that latex allergy/sensitivity claims are to be considered work related accidents rather than occupational diseases and that sensitized workers are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits including those for loss of functional ability. The Court's decision to pinpoint the reaction to a specific event rather than to a long period of occupational exposure will make it easier, less complicated, and less costly for injured workers to claim benefits.  

A town left to die

Tiny Libby, Mont., depended for years on the jobs at a vermiculite mine. But the mine is closed now, and a P-I investigation shows the town is paying a tragic price for those jobs. 

United States Workers’ Compensation Programs are Becoming Sensitized to Latex

 Latex allergy sensitivity claims are becoming a more common phenomenon in workers’ compensation systems throughout the United States. Causal relationship between latex exposure and allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, has led to the reporting of 23 deaths to the Federal Drug Administration between 1988 and 1995. Although most commonly associated with latex gloves, natural latex rubber is used in more than 40,000 medical, surgical and household products. 

 The battlefield for the assault on state workers’ compensation programs has shifted from the state capitals to the halls of Congress. Industry and their insurers are now shifting gears from an attempt at tinkering with individual systems to a more generalized approach, where assets and energies can be concentrated uniformly through Federal modification of globalized issues that will place into jeopardy the rights of workers and significantly hamper the efforts of their attorneys in seeking recovery under state workers’ compensation systems. 

 The NJ Supreme Court confirmed that dependents have a separate claim and may file for benefits if the injured worker dies of a work-related disease. In allowing dependents to file their own claims for benefits as a result of a workers' death, the Court confirmed the liberal intent of the law.

Vinyl Chloride Toxic Facts (ASTAR)

 This fact sheet answers the most frequently asked health questions about vinyl chloride. For more information, you may call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This fact sheet is one in a series of summaries about hazardous substances and their health effects. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. 

Burden Relaxed in Heart Disease Claims

The state Supreme Court last Thursday ruled that workers claiming occupational heart disease need only show that their job substantially contributed to the development of the disease to be awarded compensation. But in the first ruling of its kind in the country, the Court specifically held that smokers can be denied compensation if a job-related disease is principally caused by personal-risk factors such as smoking, obesity or a family history of the illness. 

Federal Government Debates Latex Regulations

Federal agencies have not yet been able to reach a consensus regulation of latex gloves, exposure to which has resulted in a growing epidemic of allergic reactions. 

Whose Business Is It Anyway? The Compelling Need for Privacy of Medical Records in the Workplace

The ever increasing desire of industry to contain costs in the medical management arena, as well as to gather information about current employees and new hires, and the technological realities of the millenium are now creating new battle lines for workers over the privacy of their medical, genetic, and other personal records. Computers make it easier to store, collect, share and analyze all kinds of data. The attempt to formulate intervention in this arena has placed both federal and state governments as contenders in the management of the confrontation, which may ultimately affect the employment status of every worker in the nation.

Over the course of the last few years the United States economy has undergone radical change that will require New Jersey industry to reevaluate the manner in which it conducts business. New Jersey’s robust economy is reflective of a national trend towards full employment, but its workers’ compensation benefits have not kept pace with other states. 

 NJ Supreme Court Case Review. The New Jersey Supreme Court, struggling to maintain the social remedial aspects of the Workers’ Compensation Act, adopted a liberal “quantification of disability” rule to determine the Statute of Limitations date to be utilized in occupational disease claims.This approach is in stark contrast to the Court’s conservative interpretation “notice” requirement that it had enunciated in Brock v. Public Service Electric & Gas Co., 149 N.J. 378 (1997). 

The consensus that usually prevails when the New Jersey Supreme Court decides workers’ compensation claims was shattered this term when the Court dealt with an issue that could affect the ongoing school funding controversy. Justice O’Hern, writing for the majority of the Court in Outland v. Monmouth-Ocean Education Service Commission, No. A-48-97, 1998 WL 387263 (N.J. July 1, 1998) determined that a teacher who was employed under a ten-month contract and who was injured during the school year was entitled to temporary compensation benefits during the summer recess period. 

Under the Social Security Act, "disability" means "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 

The New Jersey Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ruled that claims of workplace sexual harassment, when the harassment results in bodily injury, could not be excluded by insurance carriers under the employer's liability section of a workers' compensation policy. Lisa Schmidt filed a claim against her employer, Personalized Audio Visual, Inc. and against the president of the company, Dennis Smith, for sexual harassment in violation of New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination (LAD), assault, battery, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

In reviewing numerous medical records, including orthopedic and physical therapy reports, it is common to find mention of "The Waddell Test" and extensive reporting of examination findings featuring the results of its component maneuvers. These comments, will review the testing as it was originally described in its proper clinical application. Finally, some insights that can be used in formulating cross examination of expert witnesses who feature the Waddell test in their testimony will be discussed.

The NJ Supreme Court has ruled that employees have 90 days to notify their employers after the diagnosis of an occupational disease. If the employee fails to notify his employer, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits may be barred.

In a decision that focuses attention on the risk of harm to reproductive systems caused by exposure to toxins in the workplace, a state appeals court has ordered a judge to award compensation to an industrial employee for sterility, even though the condition did not affect his ability to work. Workers’ Compensation Judge Melvin Shteir had ruled that Ahmed Akef, a chemical worker at a BASF Corp. plant in Middlesex County, suffered no loss "in the workers’ compensation sense."  

Court Orders Compensation for Worker Rendered Sterile
In a decision that focuses attention on the risk of harm to reproductive systems caused by exposure to toxins in the workplace, a state appeals court ...

On October 14, 2007, Medtronic, the nation's largest heart implant device manufacturer, announced a defect in the critical electrical "lead" component of its heart defibrillator. The New York Times reported on October 15, 2007, that the defect in this electrical wire, called the Sprint Fidelis, has resulted in hundreds of malfunctions and may have played a role in the death of five Medtronic defibrillator patients.
 

Manville Sued Tobacco Industry
 The Trustees of the Manville Personal Injury Trust and H.K. Porter Co. targeted the tobacco industry in two separate lawsuits demanding contribu...
 This was the year that the Court mandated that workers’ compensation actions must comply with specific evidentiary and jurisdictional standards....
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