(c) 2018 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

SCOTUS Upholds California Supreme Court: Lead Paint Manufacturers Liable for Over $400 Million

The US Supreme Court declined to review a California Supreme Court decision holding multiple lead paint manufacturers responsible for cleanup costs amounting to over $400 million. The longstanding litigation was brought under the theory that lead paint contamination was a public nuisance. Lead paint has been known for decades as toxic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NJ Moves Forward to Increase Supplemental Benefits for Injured Workers

The NJ Senate is advancing legislation (S.1967) to increase supplemental benefits to certain injured workers receiving workers' compensation. SBA 10/15/2018 - r/Sca - Yes {8} No {0} Not Voting {0} Abstains {5} - Roll Call

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Virginia Holds Employer Liable for Household Contact Asbestos Exposure

An employer owes a duty of care to an employee’s family member who alleges exposure to asbestos from the work clothes of an employee, where the family member alleges the employer’s negligence allowed asbestos fibers to be regularly transported away from the place of employment to the employee’s home.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

First Responder Workers' Compensation Benefits Bill Advances

A public hearing of a bill (A1741 and S716) advancing workers' compensation benefits for first responders will be held on October 18, 2018 at 10:00 am Committee Room 15, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ.

This bill creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for public safety workers and other employees in certain circumstances. The bill affirms that if, in the course of employment, a public safety worker is exposed to a serious communicable disease or a biological warfare or epidemic-related pathogen or biological toxin, all care or treatment of the worker, including services needed to ascertain whether the worker contracted the disease, shall be compensable under workers' compensation, even if the worker is found not to have contracted the disease.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rand Study Urges National Workers’ Compensation Reforms

A national study by the Rand Corporation is urging changes to the workers’ compensation system. The study was commissioned by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and approaches necessary improvements inorder to make the nation’s workplaces safer.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Federal court permits employees to sue Givaudan for diacetyl exposure

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the manufacturer of diacetyl is not insulated from a lawsuit by exposed workers merely because their employer failed to warn them of the hazards of the substance.

Approximately 20 employees of ConAgra Brands (Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn plant) who were employed in Indiana. The workers developed a disease known as “popcorn lung,” an inflammatory lung disease known as bronchitis obliterans. The court declined to accept the defense of Givaudan Flavors Corp., the manufacturer, who alleged that the employer was a sophisticated user and should have been responsible to warm the employees of the hazard of the diacetyl.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

NJ Legislature Advances Increase to Work Comp Benefits & Proposes System Study

On Monday, September 24, 2018, a NJ legislative committee, Senate Budget and Appropriations,   took action on a sweeping workers' compensation proposal (S782) to increase benefits for the loss of a hand or foot and also establish a permanent study to review the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire NJ workers' Compensation system. The bill was reported out of committee and now will be voted on by the NJ Senate on September 27, 2018.

The committee vote was as follows:

SBA 9/24/2018 - r/Sca - Yes {10} No {0} Not Voting {1} Abstains {2} - Roll Call

Sarlo, Paul A. (C) - Yes Stack, Brian P. (V) - Yes Addiego, Dawn Marie - Abstain
Bucco, Anthony R. - Not Voting Cruz-Perez, Nilsa - Yes Cunningham, Sandra B. - Yes
Greenstein, Linda R. - Yes O'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. - Yes Oroho, Steven V. - Yes
Pou, Nellie - Yes Ruiz, M. Teresa - Yes Thompson, Samuel D. - Abstain
Weinberg, Loretta - Yes

This bill increases the amount of workers' compensation paid in certain cases for the loss of a hand, or thumb and first and second fingers (on one hand) or four fingers (on one hand) or a foot, as follows:

1. If a loss of function of a hand is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 300 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function; and

2. If a loss of function of a foot is determined to be a 25% or more loss of use, the award of workers’ compensation shall be calculated based on a maximum of 275 weeks of compensation for a 100% loss of function.

Under current law, the maximum award for the loss of a hand is 245 weeks and the maximum award for the loss of a foot is 230 weeks.

The bill also requires the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to study, in consultation with the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, the State’s workers’ compensation system and make recommendations that will help foster and maintain an efficient, effective and well-balanced workers’ compensation program that is equally responsive to the needs of both the State’s workforce and the employer community. The commissioner will submit a study, with recommendations, to the Governor and the Legislature not later than one year after the effective date of this bill and every five years thereafter. This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2018-2019 session pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes required by a technical review, which has been performed.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).

Updated: 9/25/18 10:42am
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