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(c) 2014 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No Teeth, No Respect

Today's post was shared by WorkCompCentral and comes from daviddepaolo.blogspot.com
One of the topics that was discussed at the 11th Annual National Workers' Compensation Insurance ExecuSummit held at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center & Hotel in Uncasville, CT was the deterrent effect workers' compensation could have over and above safety regulations on worker safety.

The theory goes (and I'm sure has some validity) that when properly educated an employer would see the light be providing a more safe work place and instigate work safety initiatives and incentives.

Some employers don't care.

Alas, an administrative law judge's appeal decision last month upheld serious citations issued by Cal OSHA to San Francisco-based adult film employer Treasure Island Media Inc. for inadequate protection of employees during production of adult film videos.

Serious citations are those that can cause death or serious physical injury. The final penalty for the safety violations was $8,670, lowered on administrative appeal from Cal OSHA's proposed penalty of $20,485.

The allegations were that Treasure Island Media performers were featured having sex with multiple partners without mandated controls to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including HIV, and Hepatitis B and C. The bloodborne pathogen standard for workplaces was adopted to prevent workers from exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials.

The first serious violation alleged that Treasure Island lacked an exposure control plan to limit employee contact with infectious bodily materials during...
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The World Trade Center Health Fund Will Seek Reimbursement of Workers' Compensation Payments

The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program established under the 9-11 Health Claim Program (Zadroga Act) will identify and seek recoup funds from workers’ compensation when available. The program imposes duties on Responders, Clinical Centers of Excellence, Workers’ Compensation Insurers and other employers providing illness and injury benefits to Responders.

The WTC Health Program is delaying the effective date for the component of the policy and procedures relating to recoupment from lump sum settlements of workers’ compensation cases. The policy was originally scheduled to apply to any lump sum settlement entered into after September 1, 2013. The recoupment policy will now apply to proposed settlement agreements filed with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (NY WCB) on or after October 1, 2013. Any proposed settlement filed with the NY WCB on or after October 1, 2013, and which releases an employer/insurer’s liability for any future medical expenses must be reviewed by the WTC Health Program or the parties may be financially responsible for treatment expenses. The effective date for the policy as it relates to active workers’ compensation cases where the claimant has not filed a lump sum settlement remains September 1, 2013.

General Recoupment Scheme

1. The WTC Health Program will seek to recoup from medical providers of the WTC
Health Program and from WC insurers. The Program does not anticipate that it will be
necessary to seek recoupment directly from individual WTC responders, unless the
Responder accepts a lump sum settlement from WC and the settlement either releases
or has the effect of releasing the WC insurer from its obligation to pay future medical
expenses. 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(B)(iii) incorporated in 42 U.S.C. § 300mm-41(b)(1).

2. If the primary payer seeks to shift costs onto the WTC Health Program, and the
Program cannot recover WC payments voluntarily, it may seek double damages from
the payer in a recoupment action.

This means that if either a medical provider or a Responder receives payment from a WC insurer for services already paid for by the WTC Health Program, the Program has a duty to reduce further payments or recoup funds from that medical provider who received funds from the WC insurer.42 U.S.C. § 300mm-41(b)(1).

3. If evidence suggests that a WC insurer has improperly shifted WC costs onto the WTC
Health Program, the Program may recommend that a recoupment action be filed
against an insurer, even if the insurer has already paid the claim. 42 U.S.C. § 1395y(b)(2)(B)(iii) incorporated in 42 U.S.C. § 300mm-41(b)(1).

Click here to read the entire WTC Health Fund Policy Statement
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Throw The Book At 'Em

There seems to be no limit in the amount of fraudulent conduct that transpires within the workers' compensation system. If employer fraud is not enough, the system is constantly undergoing abuse from business interests, ie. medical provo\iders, who abuse the system. The Federal Governments role in enforcement is ever increasing and expansion is trending wider. The gobal expanssion nationally of a universal program for monitoring and enforcement of medical fraud is encouraging. Today's post is shared from David DePaolo http://daviddepaolo.blogspot.com/

It's a shame that hundreds, if not thousands, of injured workers underwent unnecessary spinal fusion surgeries and must live with the debilitating aftermath of significant disability because of people whose greed overrides the well being of fellow humans.

I had learned about Michael Drobot and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, and their co-conspirators, preying on workers' compensation patients some time ago.

On Friday though, Federal prosecutors announced that Michael D. Drobot faces up to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks in a $500 million fraud scheme relating to spinal fusions and admitted to bribing state Sen. Ron Calderon to delay legislation to repeal the separate reimbursement for spinal hardware.

Calderon, D-Montebello, was indicted one day earlier on 24 charges, including bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. His brother, former...

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Read more about "Federalization of Workers' Compensation"
Jul 05, 2012
United States Supreme Court has taken a giant leap forward to facilitate the Federalization of the entire nation's workers' compensation system. By it's recent decision, upholding the mandate for insurance care under the ...
Dec 23, 2010
Yesterday the US Congress passed and sent to the President, The World Trade Center Health Program, marking yet another advance on the path to federalize the nation's workers' compensation program. The Federally ...
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The trend toward Federalization of workers' compensation benefits took a giant step forward by recent Presidential action creating the British Petroleum Oil Compensation Fund. While the details remain vague, the broad and ...
Jun 14, 2012
Yesterday the US Congress passed and sent to the President, The World Trade Center Health Program, marking yet another advance on the path to federalize the nation's workers' compensation program. The Federally .


Monday, February 24, 2014

Ten Things I Wish I Knew As a Young Lawyer Representing Plaintiffs

Today's post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan, from The Jernigan Law Firm. By Leonard Jernigan from The Jernigan Law Firm

Ten Things I Wish I Knew As a Young Lawyer Representing Plaintiffs:


1. Make a “to-do list” before you start work and prioritize that list into a top ten. At the end of the day, check off what you have accomplished and then start a new list.


2. Be honest in all things, at all times, in all places.


3. Agree to reasonable requests by opposing counsel, especially early in the case, but you don’t have to agree to every request. It’s ok to say no.


4. Call the defendant (if not represented by counsel) as soon as you can to investigate the facts. Don’t let this opportunity pass. You may find out how the defendant perceives the claim, as well as how the plaintiff is perceived. Don’t just sent a letter of representation.


5. Big damages and bad clients make bad cases. If you dislike your client, consider rejecting the case or withdrawing. Small damages and bad clients make nightmares.


6. Be compassionate but don’t get too close to your clients emotionally. They have hired you for an objective legal analysis and help. Don’t lose that objectivity.


7. Don’t hesitate to praise (if genuine) opposing counsel or an adjuster who does the right thing.


8. If a client verbally abuses your staff, call them out on it and let them know you will withdraw if it happens in the future. If it does happen again, withdraw.


9. Seek advice from lawyers with experience. Be a sponge. Being independent and totally prepared is essential, but the practice of law is an art in many ways.


10. Realize that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

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Freeing Workers From the Insurance Trap

Removing major medical coverage from a condition of employment will ultimately improve working condition. Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from www.nytimes.com

The Congressional Budget Office estimated on Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.5 million over the next decade. That is mostly a good thing, a liberating result of the law. Of course, Republicans immediately tried to brand the findings as “devastating” and stark evidence of President Obama’s health care reform as a failure and a job killer. It is no such thing.

The report estimated that — thanks to an increase in insurance coverage under the act and the availability of subsidies to help pay the premiums — many workers who felt obliged to stay in a job that provided health benefits would now be able to leave those jobs or choose to work fewer hours than they otherwise would have. In other words, the report is about the choices workers can make when they are no longer tethered to an employer because of health benefits. The cumulative effect on the labor supply is the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full-time workers by 2024.

Some workers may have had a pre-existing condition and will now be able to leave work because insurers must accept all applicants without regard to health status and charge premiums unrelated to health status. Some may have felt they needed to keep working to pay for health insurance, but now new government subsidies will help pay premiums, making it more possible for them to leave their jobs.

The report clearly stated that health reform would not produce an increase in...


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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

F.D.A. Orders 4 Bidi Cigarette Brands Removed From Shelves

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday ordered four tobacco products removed from the market, the first time the agency has done so since being given the legal authority in 2009.

“It’s a big deal,” said Matthew L. Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group. “This is first time the F.D.A. has ever ordered a product to be removed from the market for broad public health concerns.”

“It’s also significant that they did so because the manufacturer was unable or unwilling to provide sufficient evidence that the product didn’t raise new or different concerns for public health,” he added.

Since June 2013, the F.D.A. has rejected 13 new tobacco products because agency scientists believed they posed health risks above and beyond comparable products already on the market.

Agency officials said that four cigarette brands made by Jash International may no longer be domestically sold, distributed or imported. They are Sutra Bidis Red, Sutra Bidis Menthol, Sutra Bidis Red Cone and Sutra Bidis Menthol Cone. In 30 days, the F.D.A. will begin seizing any goods that remain on shelves.

The unconventional cigarettes are bidis — thin, hand-rolled cigarettes stuffed with tobacco, wrapped in leaves from a tendu tree and sometimes tied with a colorful string. Popular in India, bidis are not widely smoked here, but their novelty appeals to some adolescents.

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and...

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about "Smoking and Workers' Compensation:"
Jan 12, 2014
The 1964 U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking — the first official acknowledgment by the federal government that smoking kills — was an extraordinarily progressive document for its time. It swiftly led to a federal law that ...
Jan 20, 2014
Despite the many gains in reducing risks over the past half-century, researchers keep finding new and insidious ways in which smoking is harming the smokers themselves and nonsmokers who breathe in toxic fumes.
Aug 14, 2013
City parks, public beaches, college campuses and other outdoor venues across the country are putting up signs telling smokers they can't light up. Outdoor smoking bans have nearly doubled in the last five years, with the tally ...
Dec 03, 2013
Smoking is a major pre-existing condition in workers' compensation claims and it is also a multiplier for medical conditions that result in malignancies. Penalizing smokers through the ACA (Affordable Care Act) will also have ...

2 seriously injured after falling from scaffolding

Today's post was shared by CAAA and comes from www.mercurynews.com


SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco fire officials say two workers are suffering from potentially life threatening injuries after falling from scaffolding at a skyscraper under construction.

Fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge says the workers were installing scaffolding when it collapsed, sending one worker falling 40 feet and another 30 feet shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday at the 27-story office building under construction in the city's South of Market neighborhood.

Talmadge says parts of the scaffolding fell on the workers as firefighters worked to remove the workers from some rubble. The workers were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life threatening injuries.

She did not know the extent of their injuries. Their names have not been released.

Talmadge says the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will investigate the incident.

The workers are from Webcor Builders in San Francisco, said Len Veprone, a senior vice president. He confirmed that the workers were at the hospital, but he did not disclose their conditions. He said the builders are the Kilroy Realty Corp. and that the site has been under construction since April.

A telephone message left with OSHA officials was not immediately returned.

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about "Scaffolding Accidents and Workers' Compensation"
Feb 23, 2014
Fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge says the workers were installing scaffolding when it collapsed, sending one worker falling 40 feet and another 30 feet shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday at the 27-story office building under ...
Mar 11, 2013
The repeat violations, with a $67,760 penalty, include an unsecured scaffold missing cross braces, exposing workers to scaffold collapse and failing to fully plank and provide guardrails or other means of fall protection on ...
Dec 04, 2013
Painting & Decorating Inc., a Ronkonkoma painting and stucco contractor with a long history of fall protection and scaffold safety violations, now faces an additional $460,350 in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's ...
Jan 04, 2013
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Beno Stucco Systems of Rochelle Park with six safety violations – including five repeat – involving fall and scaffolding hazards while ...

Detroit Files Financial Restructuring Plan

Today's post was shared by WSJ Law Blog and comes from blogs.wsj.com

DETROIT—The city of Detroit submitted its financial restructuring plan to federal court Friday, a move likely to set off a new round of jockeying among creditors asked to take a haircut in the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy.

The plan seeks to restructure an estimated $18 billion in long-term obligations by paying secured creditors in full, paying pension funds a reduced amount, and giving other unsecured creditors just a fraction—about 20 cents on the dollar—of the outstanding debt the city still owes.

“There is still much work in front of all of us to continue the recovery from a decadeslong downward spiral,” Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said in a statement Friday. “We must move swiftly to emerge from bankruptcy so that the financial distress harming the City can end.”

As part of the plan, city officials said they would set aside $1.5 billion over 10 years for capital improvements, blight removal, and equipment and technology upgrades to make the city safer, cleaner and more efficient. Up to $500 million of that will be dedicated to blight removal over the next five years, officials said. Read the full WSJ story here.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who steered the city into a bankruptcy filing in July, called on many city creditors who have been reluctant to settle to reconsider.

“Let’s use this plan as a call to action for a voluntary settlement as part of the mediation process to resolve the...

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about "Bankruptcy and Workers' Compensation"
Jan 18, 2014
Public entity bankruptcies have placed the stability of workers' compensation and other benefits into a grey area. As the Detroit bankruptcy resolution continues to stumble the consistency necessary for critical benefit delivery ...
Dec 03, 2013
The "nuclear option" for a workers' compensation claim is a public entity bankruptcy and Detroit got the Court's approval to go forward with the legal maneuver. Over the course of the last 3 decades, bankruptcy has become a ...
Jul 19, 2013
The bankruptcy of the city of Detroit reflects not only an economic and social tragedy for America, but it also marks a failure of basic disability and compensation programs for the US workers. It is a sentinel event marking the ...
Aug 13, 2013
The company — Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in United States and Canadian courts, citing debts to more than 200 creditors after the July disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Clear Benefits of a Higher Wage

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from mobile.nytimes.com

Republicans sputtered with outrage when the Congressional Budget Office said that immigration reform would lower the deficit, strengthen Social Security and speed up economic growth. They called for the office to be abolished when it dared to point out that tax cuts raise the deficit or when it highlighted the benefits of health care reform. But now that the budget office has predicted (and exaggerated) the possibility that an increase in the minimum wage might result in a loss of jobs, Republicans think it’s gospel.

“This report confirms what we’ve long known,” said a spokesman for the House speaker, John Boehner. “While helping some, mandating higher wages has real costs, including fewer people working.”

What Republicans fail to mention is that Tuesday’s report from the budget office, a federal nonpartisan agency, was almost entirely positive about the benefits of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, as President Obama and Congressional Democrats have proposed.

More than 16 million low-wage workers, now making as little as $7.25 an hour, would directly benefit from the increase, the report said. Another eight million workers making slightly more than the minimum would probably also get raises, because of the upward “ripple effect” of an increase. That would add $31 billion to the paychecks of families ranging from poverty level to the middle class, significantly increasing their spending power and raising the...

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about "Minimum Wage and Workers' Compensation:"
Feb 12, 2014
The political posturing over raising the minimum wage sometimes obscures the huge and growing number of low-wage workers it would affect. An estimated 27.8 million people would earn more money under the Democratic ...
Jan 29, 2014
President Barack Obama plans to act unilaterally to raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, a move that asserts his executive powers before his State of the Union address in which he will press ...
Feb 22, 2014
But now that the budget office has predicted (and exaggerated) the possibility that an increase in the minimum wage might result in a loss of jobs, Republicans think it's gospel. “This report confirms what we've long known,” ...
Nov 17, 2013
"The refusal to increase the minimum wage is just one of the ways House Republicans have inflicted harm on the economy and hurt people's pocketbooks," said New York Rep. Steve Israel, who chairs the Democratic ...

Parallels Seen in Two Jet Crashes in 2013

WASHINGTON — The crew of a U.P.S. cargo jet that crashed on approach to Birmingham, Ala., last August had planned to land by using a method that was rare for them, following a computer-generated path to give vertical guidance, according to testimony given Thursday at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing. But the crew changed its strategy in the last minutes because the onboard computer did not perform as they had planned, investigators said.

At the hearing, strong parallels emerged to the crash of an Asiana passenger plane at San Francisco International Airport five weeks earlier: heavy pilot reliance on automation, possible failure to anticipate its limits, not enough experience landing without a full instrument system, and failure to keep track of key parameters. In the Asiana crash, which killed three people and destroyed a Boeing 777, the issue was airspeed; in the Birmingham crash, of an Airbus A300, it was altitude. The safety board is also looking into fatigue in the Birmingham crash, which came shortly before 5 a.m. and killed both people on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board is holding hearings into the Aug. 14 crash of a U.P.S. cargo jet in Birmingham, Ala. Hal Yeager/Associated Press

According to documents released by the safety board, the captain in the Birmingham crash, Cerea Beal, 58, had told co-workers that the schedule was very hard. “I can’t do this until I retire because it’s killing me,” he was...

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Generic drug makers fight rule on health risk warnings

Drug safety is a concern of all injuured workers. Better regulation will improved the ultimate medical delivery system of a workers' compensation program. Today's post was shared by FairWarning and comes from www.latimes.com

Companies that make generic drugs, the medications most Americans buy, are fighting to kill a proposed federal regulation that would require them for the first time to warn patients of all the known health risks of each drug they sell.

The proposed rule change by the Food and Drug Administration "would be nothing short of catastrophic," said Ralph G. Neas, president of the Generic Pharmaceutical Assn., an industry trade group. It could raise healthcare costs and "create dangerous confusion" for doctors and patients, he said.

At issue is a legal loophole created by Supreme Court rulings that drew a sharp distinction between brand-name drugs and lower-cost generics, which are the same products but usually are marketed under their chemical names.

In 2009, the high court confirmed drug makers could be sued if they failed to warn patients that a brand-name drug carried a serious potential health risk.

The decision upheld a $7-million jury verdict for Diana Levine, a Vermont violinist whose lower arm was amputated after she was injected with an anti-nausea drug made by Wyeth. The drug sometimes caused gangrene if injected into an artery.

But the Supreme Court majority flipped when confronted with a generic drug that also caused a horrible side effect.

Last year, a 5-4 ruling tossed out a $21-million verdict awarded by a lower court to Karen Bartlett, a New Hampshire woman who was disfigured, badly burned and nearly blinded after she had a rare,...

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Social Security Announces New Expedited Disability Process for Veterans

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, along with Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) today unveiled a new initiative to expedite disability claims by veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T). Under the new process, Social Security will treat these veterans’ applications as high priority and issue expedited decisions, similar to the way the agency currently handles disability claims from Wounded Warriors.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and it is only right that we ensure they have timely access to the disability benefits they may be eligible for and deserve,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin. “Social Security worked with Veterans Affairs to identify those veterans with disabilities who have a high probability of also meeting our definition of disability. I am proud of our collaboration and happy to announce this new service for America’s vets.”

In order to receive the expedited service, veterans must tell Social Security they have a VA disability compensation rating of 100% P&T and show proof of their disability rating with their VA Notification Letter.

The VA rating only expedites Social Security disability claims processing and does not guarantee an approval for Social Security disability benefits. These veterans must still meet the strict eligibility requirements for a disability allowance.

Social Security plans to launch the expedited process in mid-March.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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World Trade Center Fund Now Covers Myeloid Malignancies

Beginning on February 1, 2014, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program began considering blood or bone marrow disorders of the myeloid line to be slow-growing blood cancers. Accordingly, they will be considered WTC-related health conditions, making them available for WTC Health Program medical treatment services for eligible members.

These cancers had been considered non-malignant by the Administrator because they were referred to as “pre-leukemic” hematopoietic disorders in the medical literature. Recent scientific advances, however, characterize these “pre-leukemic” myeloid neoplasms as slow-growing blood cancers, and authoritative scientific sources now consider them to be malignant myeloid neoplasms.

After receiving a request from the WTC Clinical Centers of Excellence to review certain myeloid disorders in terms of their status as malignancies, the WTC Health Program has determined that, in addition to types of leukemias, these myeloid malignancies are eligible for coverage by the WTC Health Program as WTC-related health conditions.

The group of myeloid malignancies includes the following health conditions:

(1) Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDSs);

(2) Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs);

(3) Myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MDS/MPN); and

(4) Myeloid malignancies associated with eosinophilia and abnormalities of growth factor receptors derived from platelets or fibroblasts.

On January 2, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act establishing the World Trade Health Program and extends and expands eligibility for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered asbestos related disease. Please contact our office if you require assistance in filing a claim under the newly enacted James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Is Shipping Oil by Rail As Dangerous As the Keystone Pipeline?

Today's post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com

When the State Department issued its long-awaited environmental-impact statement on the Keystone XL project earlier this month, one of its key findings was that if the controversial pipeline weren't built, oil-laden rail cars would pick up the slack. "Rail will likely be able to accommodate new production if new pipelines are delayed or not constructed," it argued. As we noted recently, that rail transit is already underway. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), crude oil traveling by rail increased from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to an estimated 400,000 in 2013. Recently, an ExxonMobil official said the company had already begun to use trains to haul oil out of the Canadian tar sands, and the company plans to move up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day from a new terminal by 2015. In other words, tar sands will be developed one way or another, according to the State Department, with or without the $5.4 billion pipeline that would eventually link Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

The AAR argues carrying crude by tanker car is safe, citing a statistic that 99.9977 percent of dangerous chemical shipments by rail reached their destination without incident through 2010, making it safer than other forms of transport. But as crude by rail in the United States is increasing—the AAR says shipments have shot up 443 percent since 2005—so too...


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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just Published: 2014 Update - Gelman on Workers' Compensation Law

Jon Gelman’s newly revised and updated treatise on Workers’ Compensation Law has just been published by West Group of Egan, MN. The treatise is the most complete work available on NJ Workers’ Compensation law.

The work offers an in-depth and insightful analysis that provides a  quick and accurate guidance to those who practice workplace injury law. Time-saving comments and instructions shorten the claims process and expedite handling of issues.

New areas of the law reviewed:

The newly enacted SMART Act (The Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2012), and the proposed Regulations, are discussed at length in this supplement. The newly enacted statutory provision concerning balance billing and expanded jurisdiction of the Workers’ Compensation Court is reviewed. The launch of COURTS 4, the expanded workers’ compensation electronic filing system, implementing e-filing of Notice of Motions, is explained along with accompanying sample forms, codes, and instructions for filing/service. The statutory extension of lifetime benefits embodied in recent legislation for surviving spouses of police and fire department employees, who are fatally injured in-the-line of duty, is discussed. The recent case law concerning the second-prong of the “context test” involving the “Exclusivity Doctrine” is reviewed 

New 2014 Section Sections include:

--Dependency—Surviving spouse of police or fire department killed in the line of duty [12.14.50] 
--Case organization utilization reporting tracking system (COURTS)—Court proceeding type codes [25.22.30] 
--Case organization utilization reporting tracking system (COURTS)—E-filing of motions—General motion [25.22.40] 

Gelman on Workers’Compensation Law is exclusively integrated into the entire world-wide leading legal research network of West Group-Reuters-Thomson publications.

It is now available, in print, on CD-Rom and online via Westlaw™ and WestlawNext™. [Westlaw Database Identifier NJPRAC]



Jon L. Gelman is nationally recognized as an author, lecturer and skilled trial attorney in the field of workers’ compensation law and occupational/environmental disease litigation. Over a career spanning more than three decades he has been involved in complex litigation involving thousands of clients challenging the mega-industries of: asbestos, tobacco and lead paint. Gelman is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). He is the former Vice-President of  The Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG) and a charter member of The College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers. Jon is a founder of the Nancy R. Gelman Foundation Inc., which seeks to fund innovative research to cure breast cancer. He is also an avid photographer. jon@gelmans.com -www.gelmans.com

Monday, February 17, 2014

Toni Atkins prepares for Assembly speakership

Today's post was shared by CAAA and comes from capitolweekly.net

For Toni Atkins, a coal miner’s daughter and the first in her family to graduate from college, the road from Virginia coal country to San Diego to Speaker of the state Assembly has been long and winding.
Atkins, a San Diego Democrat who said she can “really appreciate the depths and the breadth of the people who live in California,” was chosen the next speaker in a closed-door caucus of Democrats, who control the 80-member Assembly with a supermajority. She currently serves as the Assembly’s majority leader.
She will succeed Speaker John Pérez, a former L.A.-area labor activist, who is termed out this year and is running for state controller. Atkins, like Pérez, is openly gay, although her sexual orientation has drawn relatively little notice in the Capitol.
Pérez served as Atkins’ mentor, she said.
“I feel really fortunate the speaker has given me the opportunity to be both the Majority Whip and the Majority Leader,” Atkins said.
She’ll be leading the lower house despite concerns – at least in the north state – that an old tradition over equitable leadership distribution between Northern and Southern California.
“For 40 years there has been an unspoken — and unbroken — rule that Southern California splits leadership of the Legislature with the Bay Area and greater Northern California. This year, Southern California leaders could seize complete control of the...
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