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United States: Claimant Establishes Legal Pneumoconiosis in Spite of Conflicting Medical Evidence

January 04, 2019 (1 min read)

A claimant, who smoked cigarettes and worked as a coal miner for 30 years and who developed severe breathing problems after he stopped working in the coal mines was properly awarded benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C.S. § 901 et seq., because he established that he had legal pneumoconiosis arising out of his coal mine employment that contributed to his total disability and the employer did not rebut the 15-year presumption. The Court agreed that the ALJ properly discredited two doctors opinions that concluded that the claimant did not suffer from a pulmonary impairment because the opinions did not explain how they eliminated the claimant's 30 years of coal mine dust exposure as a potential cause of his pulmonary impairment or how they concluded that he did not have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease given the years of medical treatment records documenting the condition.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Consolidation Coal Co. v. Director, OWCP, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 36164 (7th Cir. Dec. 21, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 54.06.

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