July 2020 New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Claimant fails to block award reduction based on prior SLU award

Case name: Blair v. Suny Syracuse Hospital, 120 NYWCLR 97 (N.Y.App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s ruling that the claimant was entitled to a 20 percent schedule loss of use award of his right arm for a should injury. Neither WCL Section 15 (3) nor the Board’s guidelines for determining impairments set forth separate SLU awards for the elbow or shoulder.

Finding of no labor market attachment must be moved to date evidence submitted

Case name: Bruno v. World Trade Center Volunteer Fund, 120 NYWCLR 98 (N.Y.App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division reversed the Board’s decision to rescind the claimant’s benefits from March 8, 2018, through July 13, 2018. The proper date of a finding of no labor market attachment is not the date of the issue raised, but the date that evidence showing a lack of labor market attachment is submitted.

Persuasive medical opinions establish bus driver’s work-related occupational disease

Case name: DiGennaro v. Greece Central School District, 120 NYWCLR 99 (N.Y. App. Div. 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division held that sufficient evidence supported the Board’s ruling that the claimant, a school bus driver and safety coordinator, sustained a casually-related occupational disease of the neck and right shoulder. The claimant’s credible testimony along with the treating orthopedist and neurosurgeon who confirm that the claimant’s right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis is causally related to her years of driving a school bus.

COVID-19 restrictions relieve claimant from demonstrating attachment to labor market

Case name: Jethro Holdings LLC., 120 NYWCLR 104 (N.Y. W.C.B. Panel, 2020)

Summary: On March 7, 2020, New York Governor declared a disaster emergency for the State of New York. During this emergency period, the Board is not requiring injured workers demonstrate they are attached to the labor market in order to maintain partial disability payments. The Board will review this requirement once the emergency disaster status is lifted.

Claimant wins benefits for wipeout on public sidewalk

Case name: Schindler Enterprises, 120 NYWCLR 108 (N.Y. W.C.B. Panel, 2020)

Summary: The Board panel established a claim for injuries sustained by the claimant in a slip-and-fall accident on a pedestrian sidewalk entrance into the building complex where she was assigned to work on an elevator. A claimant’s fall on a public sidewalk while heading to work may be compensable where the claimant is near the entrance of their workplace and be considered to have a close association with the access route to the premises.

New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, July 23, 2020