Workers’ Compensation News - June 30, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 16

 “Victims forgotten in asbestos proposal” Under Senator Hatch’s Forgiving Asbestos Industry Responsibility Act 6/25/2003

Benefits and Compensation for Smallpox Vaccine Injuries 6/22/2003

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Medicare Secondary Payer
Additional FAQs as published on May 23, 2003, PDF file.

Sample Set Aside Account Form

Medicare & Workers' Compensation - A Report and Analysis (37 pages)
By Ed Welsch Director of the Workers' Compensation Center at Michigan State University

"Medicare, Medicare, and More Medicare"
(or Things that go "Bump" in your Workers' Compensation Case) (76 pages) by Vernon Sumwalt, Mark T. Sumwalt and Richard B. Harper

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a plan to guarantee that a proposed fund to compensate asbestos victims does not run dry, clearing another stumbling-block to overhauling the asbestos liability system. On a voice vote, the committee endorsed a Democratic plan that would allow the fund's administrator to order accelerated payments from business and industry during the 27-year life of the fund if necessary to cover asbestos injury claims. The administrator could also keep the fund going on a voluntary basis beyond 27 years.
Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah,said the possibility of accelerated payments meant business and insurers collectively could have to contribute $45 billion more to the fund, in addition to the $90 billion they have agreed to pay - increasing their overall contribution to $135 billion. The vote resolved one of the key questions dogging the asbestos bill, which would take hundreds of thousands of claims out of courts and pay victims from the fund instead. Injury claims have driven 67 companies into bankruptcy. Earlier, the committee approved a compromise on the medical criteria required for people to apply for compensation for cancer and other diseases caused by asbestos.
Reuters, 06/26/2003

USAction IS FIGHTING FOR ASBESTOS VICTIMS! View the TV ads denouncing Sen.
Orrin Hatch's Asbestos proposal.
The ad campaign features Brian Harvey , who has mesothelioma a fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. He had appeared in earlier ads supporting an asbestos proposal but says he can’t back Senator Hatch’s plan.

In another ad, Charisse Dahlke talks about losing her husband when he was only 53 years old. Suddenly she was a young widow with four kids. Her husband should have lived to support the family for many years. Under the Hatch proposal, Mrs. Dahlke wouldn’t receive enough in benefits to cover their needs.

Hostile Work Environment
Teacher Wins $560,000 award in Workplace Suit The Record (search on "teacher")

NJ Cases
The petitioner had previously been awarded 35 percent permanent partial total disability, orthopedic and neurological in nature, for, inter alia, residuals of a posterior bilateral laminectomy and foraminectomy at L4-5 and L5-S 1. Reviewing the evidence presented on petitioner’s application for a review and modification of that award, the judge concludes, in view of the findings of a current neurologic deficit by both neurological evaluators, that she is satisfied that the petitioner has established the existence of some increased disability that she determines to be 5 percent of permanent partial neurologic in nature for mild weakness in left plantar Ac-don. This results in an award of 40 percent permanent partial disability with a credit of 35 percent to the respondent for the prior award. Bubenheimer v General Motors, et al Decided April 2003 
The decedent — who worked for the roofing company owned by the male defendant and his brother — died as a result of a fall from a 30-foot tree at the home of the defendant and his wife. while performing tree-pruning work there between roofing jobs. The panel disagrees with the trial judges conclusion that evidence did not support an allegation of negligence by the defendants homeowners, and that the Workers’ Compensation Act immunized defendant against any negligence as an employer in this situation. Because the panel finds that the facts could support jury findings that defendants were negligent and liable as homeowners, and that defendants individually were not the same entity as the decedent’s employer, the summary judgment in favor of the defense is reversed.
Estate of Kichline, et v. Piperatp Decided June 9, 2003.

Quote of the Week
Asbestos a Problem?"My answer to the problem is: If you have enjoyed a ggod life while working with asbestos products, why not die from it. There's got be some cause."
Letter from E.A. Martin, Purchasing Director of Honeywell's Bendix Unit to Canadian Johns-Manville, September 12, 1966.
Ed note: Not for Honeywell's CEO. He took home 56 million dollars last year.