We are excited to announce a major win secured by Jones Jones LLC Attorney Ian Leaderman. This win highlights:
- The jurisdictional complexities that may arise while representing national or worldwide employer entities;
- The success that can come with a detailed review of the facts surrounding a claimant’s contacts with New York State versus their home state;
- The need to review a claim for an aggressive defense, despite possible filing issues with pre-hearing conference forms.
Attorney Ian Leaderman recently successfully litigated a claim before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for an airline client on the issue of proper state jurisdiction. The flight attendant claimant sustained injury to her neck, left shoulder, back and bilateral wrists as she pushed a drink cart during a flight between Greece and JFK. The claimant was a Georgia state resident at the time of injury and immediately begun to start treating in her home state. Thereafter, a claim was initiated with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation on September 6, 2019, just two days after the subject accident. Several “WC-2, Notice of Payment” forms were filed by the Georgia Board documenting indemnity payments made to the claimant. Eventually, the claimant’s Georgia doctors found that the claimant had reached maximum medical improvement and was 0% disabled.
Six months after the date of accident, and after receiving Georgia workers’ compensation benefits, the claimant’s New York attorney filed an initial notice of claim with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. In April 2021, a hearing was scheduled and evidence regarding the Georgia claim was submitted for review by the New York State Law Judge. Ultimately, Attorney Leaderman argued that there were simply insufficient ties to New York State to establish a New York claim; advising the Law Judge that the record demonstrated that the claimant resided in Georgia and chose to pursue all medical treatment in Georgia. Further, had the need for litigation, testimony, etc. arose, particularly with regard to any medical disputes, the witnesses, including the claimant’s physicians, all resided in Georgia as well.
The New York State Law Judge issued a Reserved Decision finding in favor of all of Attorney Leaderman’s points, concluding that there was a lack of sufficient contacts to established a New York State claim. The claimant’s attorney appealed this decision, heavily relying on the fact that the carrier for the airline did not timely file a pre-hearing conference form outlining the defense of jurisdiction. On appeal, Attorney Leaderman argued that the issue of jurisdiction can be raised at any stage of a workers’ compensation claim . The Board Panel agreed, and upon review, held that the carrier’s failure to file a pre-hearing conference statement is not a waiver of the issue of subject matter jurisdiction (see Hermann Transportation, 2018 NY Wrk Comp G1069461), while also noting that the New York Law Judge properly found that there is no subject matter jurisdiction in New York. The Board upheld the disallowance of the claim. Attorney Leaderman’s excellent litigation of this claim allowed for the case to remain closed with the finding of a 0% disability at maximum medical improvement.
Jones Jones LLC attorneys are ready to navigate you and your team through the complexities of jurisdictional defenses. Our attorneys will apply the necessary detailed review and aggressive approach to ensure success.
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