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Court backs EEOC inspecting company property without consent

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Nucor Steel Gallatin Inc., the U.S. District Court in Kentucky ruled that the EEOC has the authority to enter a business for an on-site inspection without either a warrant or the property owner's consent. The EEOC had accused Nucor Steel Gallatin Inc. of rescinding a job offer based on the applicant's disability and requested a site visit, which the company refused. The agency issued a subpoena and the company indicated it would not consent to a visit without a warrant.

The court found in favor of the EEOC when it was asked to intervene.

Workers' Compensation
Maritime worker's long-time knee injury not deemed temporary disability - California

A maritime worker who injured his knee nearly 30 years ago can't be classified as temporarily disabled despite the prospect of surgery, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Having taken early retirement in 2002 due to knee pain, he filed claims against his employer, Matson Terminals and, subsequently, SSA Marine, seeking disability benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act when the company stopped paying for treatments in 2008. Physicians had concluded that total knee replacement would be needed in the future. While a judge ruled he would be temporarily disabled if he goes through with the surgery, but that he would be considered permanently disabled if he chooses to live with the knee pain, on appeal, the 9th Circuit ruled the prospect of a hypothetical future surgery and its anticipated benefits cannot transform an otherwise permanent disability into a temporary one for purposes of the Longshore Act.

Judge has broad discretion in weighing causation evidence - Massachusetts

An appellate court ruled that the Industrial Accident Reviewing Board erred when it reversed an administrative judge's decision that awarded benefits for a shoulder injury. While an IME expressed "concern" that the worker did not complain of pain until a year after the injury, the court ruled this did not rise to the level of a medical opinion and there was evidence of complaints about pain shortly after the incident. Therefore, a causal relationship existed between the industrial accident and the injury.

Attorney's fees capped in undisputed death case - Missouri

Bynum, dec. v Bynum et al involved a worker who had a severe head injury when he fell from a ladder and died about two years later. The attorney claimed nearly $146,000 in attorney's fees, but the Commission affirmed an award of $10,000 in attorney's fees, that it deemed fair and reasonable since an attorney cannot achieve a better result than the statutory death benefit.

Employee does not have to give separate notice for additional injuries related to original incident - New York

In the Matter of Logan v. New York City Health & Hospital Corp., a medical surgical technician slipped on a wet floor while performing her duties and reported an injury to her left knee. Later, she sought benefits with respect to her right knee, back and bilateral shoulders that she claimed arose from the same incident, but was not required to provide additional notice, since the employer clearly had knowledge of the accident.

Apportionment of carpal tunnel claim inappropriate - New York

In Scuderi v. Mazzco Enters., a union carpenter was employed by several different employers from 1998 through 2009 and, in 2010, he filed a claim for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive work. The Board apportioned 45 percent of the liability to an earlier employer, however, the court disagreed noting the carpenter was not diagnosed with nor treated for the condition until 2010.

Workers' comp exclusive remedy for worker who lost lungs in Mountaire Farms ammonia leak - North Carolina

An explosive ammonia leak at the Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Robeson County injured a factory maintenance mechanic, a supervisor, and killed another maintenance worker. The mechanic, who entered the room at the behest of his co-worker and recognized the danger, was in a coma for four to five months and had to have a double-lung transplant. He filed suit against Mountaire, the deceased's estate, the supervisor and other employees involved in decisions on how to replace the votator inner sleeve. The Court of Appeals found that the workers made critical mistakes causing the tragic accident, but there was not wanton, reckless behavior. Therefore, workers' comp is the exclusive remedy.

Worker settles multi-million dollar suit with museum - Pennsylvania

A worker at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia was seriously injured when he fell through a glass ceiling while inspecting light fixtures in the museum. Working as an engineer for IFC International that was engaged to inspect light fixtures as part of an audit to see if the museum could get an energy rebate after a multi-million dollar renovation, he has undergone 15 surgeries. He sued the museum and others, including the security company that told him the glass floor was safe to walk on. His case was settled for $7.5 million.

Late notice of employer's uninsured status means fewer benefits - Pennsylvania

Pursuant to 77 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2703(b), if an injured worker fails to notify the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (Fund) within 45 days after the worker knows that the employer is uninsured, the Fund is not obligated to provide "compensation" from the date of the injury, but rather from the date the Fund gets notice of the claim. In Commonwealth v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Kendrick and Timberline Tree & Landscaping LLC), the appellate court ruled the Fund was not required to pay for medical benefits prior to the date it received formal notice of the claim, noting "compensation" applied to both medical benefits and wage loss benefits.

Temporary worker may not sue "borrowing" employer - Texas

In Tractor Supply Co. of Tex., L.P. v. McGowan, the court found that a temporary employee of a staffing agency was an employee of the tractor supply company he was assigned to and, therefore, could not sue the company, following a work related accident. The temporary worker was working on the company's premises and the company directed the work that caused his injury. Further, the company was covered by a workers' compensation insurance policy obtained by the staffing agency that included an alternate employer endorsement.

Comp attorney fee schedule unconstitutional - Utah

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Injured Workers Association of Utah, stating that "under the separation-of-powers doctrine" the court can't "delegate the regulation of attorney fees to the legislature or the commission." In its ruling, the Utah Supreme Court declined to adopt a new fee schedule for regulating the fees of injured workers' attorneys, noting workers will have the flexibility to negotiate appropriate fees with their attorneys.