Jones Jones LLC is pleased to announce that Partner David Secemski and Partner Stacee Vaikness have each recently secured favorable decisions before the New York State Third Department, thereby making positive case law for employers and carriers within the state.
In Rodriguez v. American Bridge Company, (Matter of Rodriguez v American Bridge Co. (2023 NY Slip Op 00909) (nycourts.gov)) Partner Vaikness successfully argued for a permanent disqualification of all future wage replacement benefits. In this case, it had been found that the claimant had violated WCL 114-a for a fraud violation. The underlying WCL 114-a facts were in relation to the claimant who had sustained workers’ compensation injuries as a truck driver. He had testified on at least three separate occasions to having completed no work nor volunteer work during the time in which he was receiving wage replacement benefits on his workers’ compensation claim. It was later discovered that during this time, however, the claimant held an elected position as a constable. The Court noted that the claimant was evasive and sought to minimize his duties as constable and therefore upheld all penalties associated with the fraud finding. Ultimately this successful litigation resulted in not only the claimant being disqualified from future benefits, but also in the claimant having to pay back the carrier over $60,000 in indemnity benefits.
In Sanchez v. NYC Transit Authority, (Sanchez-2.pdf (ny.gov)), Partner Secemski successfully litigated the full disallowance of an occupational disease claim. The claimant was employed as a railroad clerk since 1995 and thereafter a station agent for the employer. In 2020, she filed a claim for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome; maintaining this condition was due to the repetitive nature of her job duties. The Court found that the claimant failed to “establish a causal relationship between her bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and a distinct feature of her employment.” Specifically, the Court focused on the variety of tasks the claimant had undertaken as part of her duties, such as typing on a keyboard, and found that there was this failure. The Court also noted that the claimant’s doctor did not give compelling medical testimony as the doctor was unaware of the claimant’s duties at work post the introduction of metrocards; and was unable to connect how the claimant’s duties at work pre-metrocard introduction could possibly have any bearing on her physical condition at present. The Court ultimately found that the claimant’s claim for an occupational disease claim be fully disallowed.
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