June 2020 New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter Highlights

Lack of credibility dooms claimant’s request for reduced earnings award 

Case name: Wallace v. Don Sebastiani, 120 NYWCLR 63 (N.Y.App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division held that the evidence supported the Board’s decision that the claimant’s reduced earnings after leaving his full-time job were not due to his disability from a 2011 accident.

WCL Doesn’t cover claimant’s injury while crossing street to enter workplace 

Case name: Johnson v. New York  City Transit  Authority, 120 NYWCLR 67 (N.Y.App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division upheld the Board’s decision that denied benefits to a claimant that was struck by a car while crossing a public road in front of his workplace at the start of his shift. The road and parking lot are open to the public and not controlled by the employer and are only there to provide access to the workplace.

Claimant wins variance request for medical marijuana

Case name: Sisters of Charity., 120 NYWCLR 83 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board, 2020)

Summary: The Full Board approved the claimant’s variance request for medical marijuana to treat chronic neck pain and wean from opioids. Where the treating doctor has laid out a specific and detailed plan for introducing medical marijuana with goal of weaning off opioids, the doctor has met their burden of proof in requesting variance.

WCL doesn’t cover claimant’s injuries while going to lunch with boss

Case name: Scriven v. Davis Ulmer Sprinkler Co., 120 NYWCLR 86 (N.Y. App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s standing that injuries sustained while a supervisor drove claimant to work on their lunch break does not qualify for benefits. With no evidence that the supervisor planned to discuss work at lunch and the claimant was not required to attend, the injuries sustained are not compensable under the Workers Compensation Law.

Claimant fails to secure reclassification as TTD

Case name: Robinson v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., 120 NYWCLR 87 (N.Y. App. Div., 2020)

Summary: The Appellate Division confirmed the Board’s decision that where a claimant’s surgery does not worsen their condition or cause any additional trauma or injury the post-surgery report does not change the classification of her condition to temporarily totally disabled.

Medical impairment, vocational factors point to 60% LWEC

Case name: Westchester County Medical Center, 120 NYWCLR 90 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2020)

Summary: The Full Board held that a claimant with a nursing background, Associates degree, ability to read and write English well and use a computer indicate a 60% loss of wage earnings due to a D severity cervical spine injury and age of 67

Claimant’s daily visits to ACCES-VR trigger reattachment to labor market

Case name: St Barnabas Hospital, 120 NYWCLR 91 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2020)

Summary: The Board held that the preponderance of evidence and attendance of ACCES-VR, vocational rehabilitation, on a daily basis supports the claimant’s reattachment to the labor market.

Employer fails to escape liability for prescription 

Case name: Hawthorn Health Multicare Center, 120 NYWCLR 92 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2020)

Summary: The Full Board ruled that the carrier was responsible for medications Lyrica and Gabapentin, even though the claimant was previously taking them for reasons unrelated to their work-place injury. The employer/carrier is not relieved from their liability for the cost as the medication was now being prescribed for his work-related condition.

Surveillance video exposes claimant’s misrepresentations

Case name: Hedgewood Assisted Living LLC, 120 NYWCLR 93 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2020)

Summary: Based on a preponderance of video evidence, the Full Board found that the claimant’s representation and severity of her reported injury did not correspond with the activity shown on video surveillance. The treating doctor agreed that the footage is not consistent with the pain and injury reported by the claimant and therefore, she was in violation of WCL Section 114-a(1).

Claimant’s job search efforts demonstrate attachment labor market

Case name: Niagara Sheets LLC, 120 NYWCLR 94 (N.Y. W.C.B., Full Board 2020)

Summary: The claimant sustained 70% wage loss due to a right knee work injury and displayed labor attachment by regularly attending ACCES-VR in and timely and diligent manner.

New York Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, May 28, June 25, 2020