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Alabama: Aggravation of School Custodian’s Myasthenia Gravis Linked to Chemical Exposure

February 06, 2015 (1 min read)

The Supreme Court of Alabama, reversing the state’s Court of Appeals, reinstated a trial court’s decision awarding a school custodian PTD benefits stemming from her exposure to chemical fumes during the course of her employment. The employer had not disputed the fact that the custodian had been exposed to the fumes; it contended, and a majority of the Court of Appeals had held, that the result of the exposure was merely a temporary aggravation of the custodian’s preexisting condition, myasthenia gravis—a neuromuscular and autoimmune disease that causes muscle fatigue. The employer argued that the custodian had been in remission following treatment. The high court noted, however, that the issue was whether substantial evidence supported the trial court’s findings. The custodian’s medical evidence showed her exposure had clearly aggravated her preexisting condition. She was unable to return to work; the exposure had not caused a mere recurrence of symptoms. Prior to the exposure, the custodian had been working normally for five years with no disabling symptoms. According to the medical expert, with the exposure to the chemicals, the custodian “did a crash and burn,” from which “she has not risen.”

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis 

See Ex parte Hanvey, 2015 Ala. LEXIS 6 (Jan. 30, 2015)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 9.02, 10.03 

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.


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