Category Archives: Uncategorized

Barking dog could cost Seattle family their home

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from news.yahoo.com

Like bullies and illnesses, lawsuits can be ignored, but they won’t go away. Denise Norton learned this valuable lesson the hard way this week when she found out that a lawsuit she has tried to ignore could wind up costing Norton her North Seattle home.

Her neighbor Woodrow Thompson filed a lawsuit alleging that the sound of barking from Norton’s dog, Cawper, was intentionally causing him “profound emotional distress.” In his detailed, 36-page complaint, Thompson claimed that the canine’s “raucously, wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking” was capable of reaching 128 decibels. For context, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration — the Labor Department agency tasked with enforcing safe working conditions — says a person should not be exposed to a noise of 115 decibels for more than 15 minutes a day. That said, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Noise Meter, Thompson’s claim would mean that Cawper’s bark is louder than an ambulance siren and just slightly softer than a jet engine at takeoff.

“In my head, everything was so bogus that he’d been doing, I don’t know why, I just didn’t think it was real or something,” Norton told the local ABC News affiliate, KOMO-TV. That’s why, even when she was served with papers, Norton simply didn’t respond.

Unfortunately for Norton, however, the suit was very real, and because…

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The Human Cost of the Military’s Toxic Burn Pits

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from medium.com

Today’s post is shared from medium.com and is authored by Matthew Gault.

Jason Dawson joined the Marines in 2003 and went to Iraq in 2006. He deployed to Al Asad air base in Anbar province where he was part of a crash, fire and rescue team.

When his tour finished, he stayed and became a civilian contractor—a firefighter.

He liked the pay and the work, but he didn’t like the burn pits. Al Asad maintained a large, open-air ditch filled with burning garbage. It’s how the base disposed of all its waste.

“Some mornings I remember waking up … and I could smell the burn pits,” he says.

Dawson stayed in Al Asad for three years, and the whole time he dealt with toxic fumes. Since coming home, he’s developed several mysterious health problems doctors can’t seem to diagnose.

Dawson—who is a personal friend—is not alone. Thousands of returning soldiers and civilians reported various health problems after coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suspect prolonged exposure to the burn pits are the cause.

What didn’t help is that the military’s efforts to clean up the burn pits were half-hearted at best, and negligent at worst. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

In the report, the congressionally-mandated watchdog details taxpayer cash wasted trying to close the Pentagon’s burn pits.

But worse than the monetary waste is how…

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Kettle Falls, WA Cedar Mill Fined More Than $150,000 for Safety Violations

Today’s post comes from guest author Kit Case, from Causey Law Firm.

Kettle Falls cedar mill fined more than $150,000 for safety violations in connection with worker injury

The Columbia Cedar mill in Kettle Falls has been fined $151,800 for safety violations after a worker was seriously hurt while trying to clear bark from a hopper.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the employer for one willful violation and 28 serious violations of workplace safety regulations.

The willful violation involved multiple instances of employees working in close proximity to exposed and unguarded chain sprockets on chain conveyors, a hazard that can cause permanent disabling injuries. The one willful violation carries a penalty of $52,000.

L&I initiated the inspection after learning that in June 2014 an employee had suffered a serious injury and was hospitalized after becoming entangled in a rotating shaft meant to move bark in the back of a hopper. The investigation found the equipment had no guarding installed to protect employees.

Along with the willful citation, the employer was cited for several serious violations related to machine/equipment guarding, and for not ensuring “lock-out/tag-out” procedures were used to prevent machinery from starting up or moving during service or maintenance by workers.

There were several additional serious violations involving fall/overhead hazards, hand-held tools, personal protective equipment and forklift training.

The employer was also cited for failing to report the hospitalization of an injured worker. By law, all employers are required to report to L&I within eight hours any time a worker is hospitalized or dies due to work-related causes.

A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition.

The employer has 15 working days to appeal the citation, and has notified L&I that it plans on doing so. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

 

How Companies Like Walmart Are Fighting to Keep Workplace Injuries Secret

Today’s post was shared by Mother Jones and comes from www.motherjones.com

Andrew Francis Wallace/ZUMA

Nearly four years ago, while lifting pallets of blankets during an overnight stocking shift at Walmart, Barb Gertz began to notice a dull pain in her arms. She kept on lifting and stocking, but by the time her lunch break rolled around she could no longer raise her arms. Her doctor told her she had tendinitis in her biceps, and that it was most likely caused by her job. Walmart disagreed. The retailer contested Gertz’s workplace-injury claim—and won.

If Gertz had worked in a factory, she could have bolstered her case with evidence from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s national database of manufacturing workplace injuries. But no such database exists for retail workers like Gertz. A new regulation that OSHA is scheduled to finalize this year would change that. OSHA wants to create a public database of workplace injury and illness data from all industries, not just manufacturing. This would help workers, the government, researchers, and journalists identify companies with safety problems. But the trade groups that represent some of America’s biggest chains—including Walmart, Target, and McDonald’s—are fighting back hard.

The National Retail Federation—a group that represents Walmart, McDonald’s, and The Container Store—spent $2.4 million lobbying on this measure and other issues between January and September of last year. In a letter to OSHA last March, the group complained that the rule would require…

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Florida has a Large Percentage of Medicare’s top “Controlled-Drug” Prescribers

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from flojcc.blogspot.com

Today’s post is authored by Judge David Langham and shared from flojcc.blogspot.com/

A story was recently published on the WUSF website, Health News Florida. It says that the “prolific prescribers” of some medications are facing “Medicare scrutiny.”

A chart in the story reflects the distribution of 192 top prescribing medical providers in 12 states. Of these, 52, or 27% are located here in the Sunshine State. 

The article notes that in 2012, “Medicare covered nearly 27 million prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants with the highest potential for abuse and dependence.” 

Despite efforts at addressing narcotic use, the article notes that this was a “9 percent” increase compared to 2011. 

Thankfully, though Florida has the largest volume of providers represented in this chart, the top prescriber is not in Florida. Dr. Shelinder Aggarwal of Huntsville, Alabama has that distinction. He prescribed “more than 14,000 Schedule 2 prescriptions in 2012.” This amounted to “more than 80 percent of his Medicare patients” receiving “at least one prescription for a Schedule 2 drug, in many cases oxycodone.”Apparently he is no longer a physician, the article notes he “surrendered his medical license” in 2013. 

The prescription practices are a “real area of concern” for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the director, quoted in the article. 

The article suggests that data in existing resources can…

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False-arrest lawsuit from 2012 dismissed

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.dispatch.com

A false-arrest lawsuit filed by an East Side man against the Franklin County sheriff’s office has been dismissed in federal court.

Antonio C. Morales sued the sheriff’s office, several deputies, the Columbus Division of Police and a police detective in 2012 after he was mistakenly arrested in 2011. Officers and deputies were looking for a man with the same first name, last name and middle initial on suspicion of sexual contact with a minor.

A police detective discovered the error after Morales had been jailed for five days.

Morales said in his lawsuit that his reputation had been harmed and asked for $1 million in punitive damages from each defendant. The case was thrown out and then appealed, and all but one defendant was dismissed.

At the same time, Morales’ attorney, Javier Armengau, was convicted in state court and sent to prison. Attempts by court officials to contact Morales failed, and the lawsuit was dismissed last week.

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Voters clearly want Congress to protect employees from unions. Here’s where it can start.

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.washingtonpost.com

Newt GingrichNewt Gingrich
Rick Berman

On Election Day, voters didn’t just rebel against President Obama. There was another pattern in the candidates they chose: Across the country, they picked pols who explicitly supported individual employee rights.

This wasn’t just a canned part of every Republican’s platform. Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Snyder of Michigan, for instance, both won reelection after pushing through significant employee-friendly reforms in their first terms. Even in deep-blue Illinois, Republican Bruce Rauner campaigned on a platform to give state employees the right to decide for themselves whether to join a union.

Pro-employee rights candidates now hold majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate, and it’s time for Congress to deliver the pro-employee agenda that has gained so much momentum in the states. Here’s how members can enhance employee rights in the workplace.

The best legislative vehicle for advancing those rights is the Employee Rights Act (ERA). Led by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the ERA  has 29 co-sponsors in the Senate and more than  100 in the House. It’s the most significant rewrite of the National Labor Relations Act in decades, with a twist: Instead of the gridlock that comes with trying to rig labor law to benefit either unions or employers, it focuses squarely on the rights of the employees. (All of the law’s provisions can be viewed at EmployeeRightsAct.com.)

Take…

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Lawsuit filed in Macy’s restroom death

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.columbian.com

Woman’s family alleges employees were negligent

The family of a 61-year-old woman whose body was found in March inside a Macy’s department store restroom at the Westfield Vancouver mall has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Family members of Lydumila I. Tikhomirova of Vancouver allege that Macy’s employees were negligent when they failed to check the women’s restroom before closing time March 9 at the department store at 8208 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive. A Macy’s employee discovered the woman’s body inside the restroom the next day and called 911 shortly after 6 a.m.

An autopsy showed that Tikhomirova died of congestive heart failure, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office.

"Defendants and defendants’ employees failed to check Macy’s bathroom before the store closed, thereby failing to discover Ms. Tikhomirova in a state of distress, and thereby preventing her from getting the treatment she required to prevent her death," according to the complaint, which was filed Thursday in Clark County Superior Court by Canadian law firm Cross Border Law Corp.

Kelley Tarzian, Macy’s spokesperson for Washington, said the corporation doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The plaintiffs are Valeriya Tikhomirova, who represents Lydumila Tikhomirova’s estate, and Lydumila Tikhomirova’s children, Natalya Tikhomirova, Svetlana Kalacheva, Timofey Tikhomirova, Irina Yukhimets, Andrey Tikhomirova and Aleksandr Tikhomirova.

They seek damages in an unspecified amount, including…

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