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Thursday, July 31, 2014

N.J. family denied workers' comp after mother died following 10 hours behind desk, high court rules

The state Supreme Court today ruled that the husband of an AT&T manager who died from a blood clot after sitting at her desk for more than 10 hours one night is not entitled to workers' compensation benefits, overturning a decision by a lower court.
Cathleen Renner, a mother of three, died in 2007 at age 47 from a clot in her lung about an hour after she finished working a sedentary, overnight shift at the computer in her home office in Edison, the ruling said.
In 2011, a state appellate court upheld a lower judge's decision that Renner's condition — known as a pulmonary embolism — was caused by her work and that her husband, James, was entitled to benefits under New Jersey's workers' compensation law. Experts said the case of was the first of its kind that they can recall.
But the Supreme Court voted 5-0 today to reverse that ruling, saying there wasn't enough evidence to prove Renner's work was to blame.
"Cathleen read, took telephone calls, sent and received, emails, had conferences with her superiors and co-workers, and made decisions," wrote Judge Ariel A. Rodriguez, who is temporarily sitting on the court to fill a vacancy. "These responsibilities did not
require her to remain in a seated position for long, uninterrupted stretches of time."
Marty Richter, a spokesman...
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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  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.