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Monday, February 23, 2015

Christie admin's money-saving decision could hurt injured workers, lawyers warn

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LEBANON TOWNSHIP – A decision by the Christie administration to close one of the state's 15 workers' compensation courts is being opposed by attorneys who say it would burden injured workers and delay cases in five counties.

The court in Lebanon, which serves people in Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset counties, is scheduled to close in June as a cost-saving measure.

Department of Labor spokesman Brian T. Murray last week said the closure would save more than $160,000 a year, not including the cost "of staff from the Division of Law and Public Safety and risk management in Treasury who must go to that location on a rotating basis for different cases."

The Hunterdon County location's 3,853 cases would be divided between the courts in New Brunswick, which already has more than 9,000 cases, and Mt. Arlington in Morris County, which already has more than 4,800 cases.

Lawyers with the New Jersey Advisory Council on Safety & Health (COSH) and the New Jersey State Bar Association say the decision would mean travel times of an...

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