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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

US Workers Continue to be Exposed to Asbestos

Asbestos Insulation
Asbestos is not banned in the US and continues to be a cause of deadly disease to workers. Asbestos, a deadly substance that causes a range of fatal diseases from asbestosis to malignancies including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Today the Detroit Free Press enlightens its readers to the asbestos problems that Michigan workers face daily. Those problems continued to be mirrored in all the states and is a national issue.
"At a time when blight removal is at historic highs and a record number of contractors are getting into the asbestos-abatement business in Michigan, the state's worker safety agency rarely gets tough with employers who expose their workers to the deadly toxin, a Free Press investigation has found."
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"The investigation also found dozens of cases of unlicensed contractors and untrained workers removing asbestos improperly: In one, the crew included workers hired from a homeless shelter — people lured by the promise of easy cash and not likely to complain about working conditions. In others, workers weren’t told they were removing asbestos or given proper clothing and respirators. In some, proper decontamination procedures weren't followed and debris was disposed of in ordinary garbage bags instead of airtight containers, potentially exposing many others to the contaminant."
Click here to read this article as well as the companion articles in the series.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Privacy: Court Mandates Protective Order for Workers' Compensation Discovery

Plaintiff in mesothelioma case sought production of defendant's (Union Carbide Corp) employees' workers' compensation claim records. The corporate defendant, Union Carbide Corp) sought to restrict access and limit dissemination of the records of the workers' compensation matters sought through discovery.

Confidentiality is a two sided sword. Historically asbestos litigation had its genesis in workers' compensation claims. In this instance the Corporate Defendant sought the utilization of privacy restrictions as a defense.

Case reversed & remanded by Appellate Division so that Trial Judge could craft a Protective Order to embrace statutory "privacy requirements" of workers' compensation records. This decision restricts dissemination and use of discovery of workers’ compensation records obtained in this case for use in other matters.

"A participant in a workers' compensation hearing who agrees to the disclosure of medical records does so for the limited purpose of establishing a right to benefits, and does not intend or anticipate the release of that information for use in unrelated litigation."

Appellate Division ordered the trial judge to include the following restrictions:
"(1) the type of record requested; (2) the information it does or might contain; (3) the potential for harm in any subsequent nonconsensual disclosure; (4) the injury from disclosure to the relationship in which the record was generated; (5) the adequacy of safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure; (6) the degree of need for access; and (7) whether there is an express statutory mandate, articulated public policy, or other recognized public interest militating toward access."

The Court reasoned that both the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the statutory restrictions of confidentiality N.J.S.A. 34:15-128(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 34:15-128(3) required that a strict Protective Order be entered.

Seymoure v. A.O. Smith Water Products Company, et al 2016 WL 1589917 Decided 4/20/16
Limited time access at: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a3967-14.pdf

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fatal Occupational Injuries - 2014



22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous occupational noise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data regarding injuries, deaths, and illness faced by millions every year in the workplace. This week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) issue is devoted to occupational health concerns, in acknowledgment of Workers Memorial Day (April 28th).

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Illegal and Excessive PACER Fees Subject of Class Action

Alliance for Justice, along with the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the National Consumer Law Center, has today filed a class action lawsuit in federal court accusing the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts of illegally charging excessive fees to access court records through its online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (PACER).

Florida Appeallate Court Rules Attorney Fee Statute Unconstitutional

The Florida First District Court of Appeals has held counsel fee provisions in the Workers' Compensation Act to be unconstitutional, ,"We hold that the challenged provisions violate Claimant’s First Amendment guarantees of free speech, freedom of association, and right to petition for redress." Miles v City of Edgewater, Decided April 20, 2016, setting the stage for review by the Florida Supreme Court.

Today's guest post is authored by the Hon. David Langham, Deputy Chief Judge of Compensation Claims for the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims and Division of Administrative Hearings and is shared from http://flojcc.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

$1 Billion Settlement Affirmed - NFL Retired Players Concussion Class Action

"It is the nature of a settlement that some will be dissatisfied with the ultimate result. Our case is no different, and we do not doubt that objectors are well-intentioned in making thoughtful arguments against certification of the class and approval of this settlement. They aim to ensure that the claims of retired players are not given up in exchange for anything less than a generous settlement agreement negotiated by very able representatives. But they risk making the perfect the enemy of the good. This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players. It is a testament to the players, researchers, and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love. Though not perfect, it is fair."