The Workers' Compensation System is Broken Declares California Insurance Commissioner

I have said repeatedly, the workers’ compensation system is broken. Today, I am here to tell you that we are fast approaching the point of no return, meaning if we do not hunker down and make the tough decisions to reform this system now, we face imminent disaster in workers’ compensation. My friends, there is no option, but to control the costs in the system. 


Timeline of Asbestos Regulatory and Legislative Activities

1900 Asbestos recognized as a cause of occupational disease (asbestosis) in Charing Cross Hospital, London. A presumptive connection is established.
1918 Insurance companies, including Prudential, refuse to sell insurance to asbestos workers.

Asbestos Ban Recommended by US Geological Survey

 The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) calls asbestos “a commercial designation for any mineral products composed of strong and flexible fibers, resistant to heat, corrosion, abrasion, and that can be woven.” Despite all of these remarkable properties, known since the time of Aristotle, controversy has followed asbestos due to numerous and well-documented adverse health effects. Various federal and state agencies and private sector organizations grapple with continuing public health concerns, such as the legacy of the Libby, Montana vermiculite mine, possible asbestos risks from the World Trade Center collapse and other related issues. They also continue to address current developments regarding the safety and efficacy of substitutes.

Teacher in verbal attack eligible for workers' comp

A state appeals court ruled Monday that a Kennedy High School teacher is entitled to receive workers' compensation and medical benefits for psychological trauma caused by a co-worker's verbal attack. 

Workers’ Compensation News - April 17, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 6
 **Cases - Reported --Medical provider's failure to pursue an administrative remedy barred a subsequent common law action for indemnification. A...
Workers’ Compensation News - April 17, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 6

 Medical provider's failure to pursue an administrative remedy barred a subsequent common law action for indemnification. A "hold harmless" stipulation contained in a Section 20 disposition requires the respondentto reimburse the petitioner's attorney for defense costs resulting from asubsequent suit seeking reimbursement of medical expenses.

Deal Reached on Federal Smallpox Compensation Plan

Late Wednesday night, April 9th, 2003, Senator Kennedy and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card reached an agreement on a smallpox compensation bill that, while not perfect, meets many of the objectives that the coalition of labor and the Workplace Injury Litigation Group (WILG) sought to achieve.

An estimated 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition. Employees are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.

Workers' Compensation News - April 6, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 5

 LOZANO v. FRANK DE LUCA CONSTRUCTION,--Appellate Division, A-2730- 01TI, March 27, 2003, not approved for publication. Denial of the petitioner mason's motion for medical and temporary disability benefits for injuries that he sustained while driving a go-cart when he was working for the respondent construction company affirmed; the petitioner was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits because he was "engaged in a recreational activity that did not arise out of or in the course of his employment"; moreover, the findings of the judge of compensation were supported by substantial and credible evidence.

Workers' Compensation Not Covered Under HIPPA

The HIPAA Privacy Rule does not apply to entities that are either workers’ compensation insurers, workers’ compensation administrative agencies, or employers, except to the extent they may otherwise be covered entities. However, these entities need access to the health information of individuals who are injured on the job or who have a work-related illness to process or adjudicate claims, or to coordinate care under workers’ compensation systems. Generally, this health information is obtained from health care providers who treat these individuals and who may be covered by the Privacy Rule. The Privacy Rule recognizes the legitimate need of insurers and other entities involved in the workers’ compensation systems to have access to individuals’ health information as authorized by State or other law. Due to the significant variability among such laws, the Privacy Rule permits disclosures of health information for workers’ compensation purposes in a number of different ways.

Congoleum Corporation Seeks to Resolve Asbestos Liability

Congoleum Corp. (CGM) plans to seek bondholder approval to help resolve its asbestos liabilities. Congoleum Corp. (CGM) traces its history in the flooring business to Nairn Linoleum Co., which began operations in 1886. The company produces both sheet and tile floor covering products, with a wide variety of product features, designs and colors. Sheet flooring, in its predominant construction, is produced by applying a vinyl gel to a flexible felt, printing a design on the gel, applying a wearlayer, heating the gel layer sufficiently to cause it to expand into a cushioned foam, and, in some products, adding a high-gloss coating.

Workers’ Compensation News - March 30, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 4
 ** NJ Unpublished decisions HUDAK v. SCHULLER INTERNATIONAL, INC., Appellate Division, A-2661-01T3, March 25, 2003, not approved for publicati...
Asbestos Claimants Reach $200 Million Settlement With Corning
Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) today announced that it has reached agreement with the representatives of asbestos claimants for the settlement of all...
Workers' Compensation News - March 25, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 3

Taxability of Social Security / Workers' Compensation Reduction:--Social Security disability may be reduced for workers' compensation and other public disability benefits. Oddly, the amounts deducted are included as benefits received for purposes of income tax. In effect, state workers' 
compensation is rendered taxable in an amount equal to the Social Security reduction, but only to the extent that Social Security is taxable for the year. [I.R. Code §86(d)(3)]

Workers’ Compensation News - March 22, 2003 Volume 1 Issue 2

An action for retaliatory discharge is allowed when an employee has been discharged for filing a workers’ compensation claim: Nebraska Supreme Court has recognized a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine to allow an action for retaliatory discharge when 
an employee has been terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim. 

 Workers can inadvertently carry hazardous materials home from work on their clothes, skin, hair, tools, and in their vehicles. As a result, families of these workers have been exposed to hazardous substances and have developed various health effects. Health effects have also occurred when the home and the workplace are not distinct -- such as on farms or in homes that involve cottage industries.

US Supreme Court Holds Workers' Fear of Cancer Compensable

The court rejected Norfolk’s proposed instructions, which would have (1) ruled out damages for fear of cancer unless the claimant proved both an actual likelihood of developing cancer and physical manifestations of the alleged fear, and (2) required the jury to apportion damages between Norfolk and other employers alleged to have contributed to an asbestosis claimant’s disease.

NJ Supreme Court Upholds The Rights of Firefighters Who Suffer Lung Disease

A unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court decided that firefighters, whether paid or volunteer, may receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for developing respiratory illness and lung disease as a result of exposure to asbestos, fumes and other toxic substances encountered on the job. Decided February 11, 2002, the case of Culbert vs. City of Jersey City and its companion Lindquist vs. City of Jersey City, reversed the Judgment of the Appellate Division, which threw out the firefighter’s claims.

Combustion Engineering files for pre-packaged Chapter 11 to Resolve Asbestos Liability

 Zurich, Switzerland, February 17, 2003 – ABB Ltd. said today that its U.S. subsidiary Combustion Engineering, Inc. (CE) has filed for Chapter 11 in the Delaware bankruptcy court, based upon CE’s previously announced pre-packaged plan of reorganization.


Vinyl Chloride: The Overview of the Conspiracy (Ross v. Conoco)

In this statement, plaintiffs identify, chronologically, the date and location each defendant joined the conspiracy largely through the acts of each defendant’s representative(s) on the various vinyl chloride-related committees identified herein. 

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