Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (5/13/2011)

Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (5/13/2011)

Larson's Spotlight on Firefighters and Cancer, Medical Causation, Fact Finder, Spider Bite, and Fraud. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

AZ: Firefighter Must Come Forward With Evidence That Carcinogen Was Reasonably Connected to Cancer in Spite of Statutory Presumption of Compensability

An Arizona appellate court recently affirmed a decision by an administrative law judge that had denied a firefighter's claim for occupational disease benefits in spite of the special presumption allowed firefighters and certain other peace officers in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 23-901.01(B).  Applying the clear meaning of the statutory text, the appellate court agreed that in order for the presumption to apply, the firefighter must, nevertheless, put forward some evidence that one of the carcinogens to which he was exposed during his duty was reasonably related to the type of cancer he developed.  The court disagreed with the firefighter's contention that to read the statute in that manner effectively negated the presumption of compensability.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Ariz. App. LEXIS 62. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 52.07.

FL: Non-Physician Toxicologist's Testimony May Not Be Used to Establish (or Deny) Medical Causation

A Florida appellate court has reversed a decision by a Judge of Compensation Claims that denied a death benefits claim upon the basis of an opinion offered by a non-physician toxicologist, which contradicted the medical opinions offered by the medical examiner and an independent pathologist.  The physicians opined that the cause of death, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, was infectious endocarditis caused by an infection that occurred in connection with ankle surgery to treat the deceased's work-related injury.  The toxicologist testified that the cultures of the bacteria of the ankle would have to match to those found in the deceased's heart.  The court indicated that the JCC could not rely upon non-physician testimony to establish medical causation.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Fla. App. LEXIS 6601. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 128.05.

NC: Industrial Commission, Not the Deputy Commissioner Hearing the Case, is the Ultimate Fact-Finder

A North Carolina appellate court has reiterated the well-established rule in the state (and other jurisdictions as well) that the Industrial Commission-which hears no actual evidence-is the ultimate fact-finder.  The plaintiff-claimant's argument that the deputy commissioner was in the best position to decide questions pertaining to the truthfulness and credibility of the witnesses notwithstanding, the appellate court stated the law was to the contrary.  The Commission was authorized to make findings contrary to those made by the deputy commissioner, even with regard to credibility.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 N.C. App. LEXIS 808. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 130.03.

VA: Risk of Spider Bite Not Peculiar to the Work Environment-Claim Fails

Utilizing the "actual risk" test, the Court of Appeals of Virginia recently affirmed the decision of the state Workers' Compensation Commission that denied a worker's injury claim related to an alleged spider bite.  Acknowledging that the worker's injury had occurred in the course of the employment-the worker testified he had been bitten by a spider while he cleaned a storage area-the court indicated the issue was whether the injury arose from the employment.  The commission determined that the worker had failed to show that he was subjected to any greater risk of spider bites than the general public. The appellate court agreed.  The worker's testimony that spider webs were present was insufficient to establish that the worker was exposed to any unusual level of spider activity.  The mere happening of an accident at the workplace, not caused by any work related risk or significant work related exertion, is not compensable in Virginia, indicated the court.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Va. App. LEXIS 158. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 5.06.

US:  Licensed Message Therapist's Conviction of Workers' Compensation Fraud Upheld

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the conviction of a message therapist for one count of making a false statement involving a health care matter in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1035 and nine counts of health care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1347 (defendant was sentenced to a total of 78 months).  Among the findings supporting the conviction was the fact that in at least one instance, defendant submitted bills for more than 24 hours of services in one day, defendant continued to submit bills for patients after they had stopped seeing her for treatment, she submitted bills on dates when she could not have provided the services, and her billing increased from approximately $60,000 in 2004 to more than $625,800 in the first part of 2008, even though she had only one patient in 2008.  Sufficient evidence supported each of defendant's convictions.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 9447. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 94.02.

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

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.