IRS prepping for Obamacare employer mandate in 2015

An Affordable Care Act pamphlet is pictured. | AP Photo

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

What will happen with the employer mandate? Will the consequences be that the workers’ compensation carriers expand coverage to employer based policies that are cheaper than traditional workers’ compenaation policies. Today’s post is shared from Politico.com

The Obama administration signaled Thursday it’s not backing down from the controversial health law employer mandate that has been delayed twice and is the centerpiece of the House’s lawsuit against the president.

The IRS posted drafts of the forms that employers will have to fill out to comply with the Obamacare requirement that employers provide health insurance to workers.

Some business groups said the information was still too tentative and too incomplete to let them prepare for new obligations under the health law. “Our immense frustrations with the IRS continue,” Christine Pollack, vice president of Government Affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement.

An administration official said the White House is sticking to the timeline announced earlier this year. Companies with 50 to 99 employees will have another year — until 2016 — to start the coverage. Companies with 100 or more employees do have to comply next year, although they have two years to phase up so that they are covering 95 percent of their workers. Smaller businesses are exempt.

The House Republicans are planning to sue President Barack Obama, saying he overstepped his authority in…

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City of Charlotte settles lawsuit over police shooting for $115,000

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

More Information

  • Joint statement in police shooting lawsuit

    “In the late evening hours of October 16, 2010, Officer Matthew Wilson shot and injured Jeffery Green. It is now clear that Officer Wilson was dispatched to investigate the stabbing of Mrs. Valinda Streater, Jeffery Green’s mother. Upon arrival, Officer Wilson observed that Mrs. Streater had just been stabbed and that her injuries were serious. It is also clear that Officer Wilson received information that Mrs. Streater’s parents might have been in danger.

    Based on that information, Officer Wilson correctly decided to check on their wellbeing. In addition, it is now clear that Jeffery Green, upon hearing that his mother had been stabbed, picked up a kitchen knife to defend his mother from further harm and started walking towards the location of his mother and Officer Wilson.

    Unfortunately, Jeffery Green was walking down a dark street and headed directly towards Officer Wilson. Officer Wilson, believing that Jeffery Green might have been the suspect who had stabbed Mrs. Streater, ordered Jeffery Green to drop the knife just prior to making the decision to shoot Jeffery Green. Officer Wilson did not learn until after the incident that Jeffery Green was not the person who stabbed and severely injured his mother.

    While the City believes that Officer Wilson’s decision to shoot Jeffery Green was reasonable under the conditions confronting Officer Wilson that night, the City also recognizes…

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Amazon faces federal lawsuit over charges racked up by children playing app games

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

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The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s first color tablet computer, is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. The federal agency accuses Amazon of charging account-holders for charges racked up unknowingly by children. (The Associated Press)

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Amazon.com of billing its customers for millions of dollars in charges racked up unknowingly by children.

The FTC filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Amazon.com Inc., seeking to require refunds for parents and other account-holders and to ban the practice in the future.

Wrongly charged for in-app games?

The Federal Trade Commission encourages Amazon customers who believe they’ve been wrongly charged for fees racked up by children to file a complaint. Lodge your complaint online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

An Amazon did not immediately return a call or email for comment.

Parents or other account-holders who believe they may qualify for a refund should file a complaint with the FTC.

A number of tech companies, including Apple Inc., have faced this issue with applications they sell and the devices that run them. The problem arises when children play application-based games, which offer extras or bonus features for a fee. Consumer groups say young people aren’t always aware how quickly costs can add up for extras such as "coins," "stars," and "acorns."

Companies that create the games typically keep most of the money. However,…

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Patient Access To Physicians Notes: An Experiment of Psychological Importance

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

Photo Today’s post is shared from the NYTimes.com  What would happen if all workers’ compensation patients had access to all their treating physician’s records including pschiatric care? Would such access assist in limiting and increasing litigation for continued medical care and the need for medical treatment?

David Baldwin wasn’t sure how he had come across the other day in group therapy at the hospital, near the co-op apartment where he lives with his rescue cat, Zoey. He struggles with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and depression. Like so many patients, he secretly wondered what his therapist thought of him.

But unlike those patients, Mr. Baldwin, 64, was able to find out, swiftly and privately. Pulling his black leather swivel chair to his desk, he logged onto a hospital website and eagerly perused his therapist’s session notes.

The clinical social worker, Stephen O’Neill, wrote that Mr. Baldwin’s self-consciousness about his disorder kept him isolated. Because he longed to connect with others, this was particularly self-defeating, Mr. O’Neill observed. But during the session, he had also discussed how he had helped out neighbors in his co-op.

“This seems greatly appreciated, and he noted his clear enjoyment in helping others,” Mr. O’Neill wrote. “This greatly assists his self-esteem.”

A smile animated Mr. Baldwin’s broad, amiable features. “I have a tough time recognizing that…

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Workers’ Comp Covers Work-Related Motor Vehicle Accidents

Today’s post comes from guest author Todd Bennett, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Do you drive a company vehicle as part of your job?

Many find themselves in the situation where they travel regularly, or on a special errand from time to time, as part of their job. 

In the unfortunate scheme of things, if you are involved in an accident while driving, whether it is your fault or not, you are covered by and entitled to workers’ compensation benefits just as any other employee who suffers an accident on the premise of an employer.

More importantly, if the cause of the accident was not due to negligence of your own, but that of a third party, you have a right to bring a third-party negligence action against the party responsible for causing the vehicle accident. This right is separate and distinct from the workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to. Further, you also potentially have the right to bring an underinsured motorist coverage claim under your employer’s motor vehicle coverage as well as your own underinsured motorist vehicle coverage. These, too, are separate and distinct from the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. 

It is important to note that the employer would have a subrogation right to be reimbursed for workers’ compensation benefits paid on your behalf against that of any third-party negligence claim where you obtained a recovery. However, as underinsured motorist coverage is typically viewed as contractual benefits in nature, there is no subrogation right from your employer if underinsured benefits are obtained in Nebraska.

If you or someone you know was injured in a motor vehicle accident that arose out of and in the course of one’s employment, there are significant issues to be aware of in order to obtain a recovery that meets your needs. If you have any questions or uncertainty when dealing with this point of law, please seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help steer you in the best course of action.

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Bad Time to be a Disability Lawyer

Today’s post comes from guest author Thomas Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

I passed through Customs after a trip to Europe this week and explained to the Customs official that I represented injured workers.  His first comment to me was “How ‘bout those guys that are scamming the system?”  I attempted to provide the disclaimer to his notion that “At least one out of every three is a fraud.” by explaining that in a long term study of fraud in Wisconsin, the incidence of fraud was literally one in 5,000.

Nonetheless, that notion persists.  I read with interest today the speech of Professor Jon C. Dubin accepting a Distinguished Service Award.  I sent Professor Dubin a congratulatory note and obtained his permission to reprint it in an upcoming issue of the Workers First Watch (the magazine of the Workers Injury Law and Advocates Group (WILG) which I edit.  He noted

“Sometimes it seems like the only thing less popular than a disability benefit claimant these days is a disability benefit claimant with a lawyer. But it bears remembering that you are the first line of defense against these stereotypes and misperceptions and against the insidious drumbeat of atypical anecdotes and calls for draconian policy change. You are also the only ones who can communicate your clients’ true and heartbreaking counter-narratives to those fraud stories. You are the ones who can describe the terrible injustices that routinely occur in assembly line administrative decision-making especially when there is a cloud of political pressure lurking above that process.”

References made to Social Security representation are also applicable in our worker’s compensation arena.  Congratulations again to Professor Dubin on his well-deserved award and his accurate perceptions of disability claimants and their representatives.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Electronics Plant in Poisoned Water Case

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

WASHINGTON — Landowners who say a North Carolina electronics plant poisoned their drinking water missed a filing deadline, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

The decision, in a 7-to-2 vote, is likely to affect similar suits from the families of thousands of former Marines over what they say was toxic pollution at Camp Lejeune, also in North Carolina.

The case decided on Monday concerned a 1980 federal law that made it easier to sue over environmental contamination, which can be hard to discover and may cause symptoms only decades later. The law said state statutes of limitations do not begin to run until plaintiffs learn of, or should have discovered, the harm in question.

The plaintiffs in Monday’s case said their drinking water had been contaminated between 1959 and 1985 by a plant in Asheville, N.C., run by CTS Corporation. They sued in 2011, after a 2009 report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Both sides agreed that the suit was not barred by North Carolina’s statute of limitations. The question for the justices was whether a separate state law — a 10-year so-called statute of repose — was displaced by the 1980 federal law.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said no. The second state law, which started to run when CTS took its “last culpable act,” barred the suit, he wrote. CTS sold the Asheville property in 1987; the plaintiffs did not sue until 24 years later.

Justice Kennedy relied on a congressional…

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Montana Indian voting lawsuit settled

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

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McCulloch (Photo: TRIBUNE PHOTO/LARRY BECKNER )

HELENA – Indian plaintiffs who sued in federal court to force the Montana secretary of state and three rural counties to open satellite voting offices on remote reservations have settled the lawsuit out of court.

Under the agreement, the three counties agree to open satellite voting locations on three reservations and pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees in the amount of $75,000. In a separate agreement, the state agrees to pay an additional $25,000 in attorney fees, according to Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

"I pledged to help assist the tribes and the counties to make this all work," McCulloch said.

Both sides hailed the agreement as a win.

Northern Cheyenne tribal member Mark Wandering Medicine, along with 11 other Indian plaintiffs, in February 2013 sued McCulloch and county elections officials in Blaine, Rosebud and Big Horn counties, alleging the defendants violated portions of the federal Voting Rights Act, which "prohibit voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in one of the language minority groups."

The plaintiffs argued their rights to equal access to voting were violated when McCulloch and county elections officials refused to set up satellite voting offices on remote Indian reservations in advance of the November 2012 presidential election.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the ACLU of Montana and the national ACLU Voting…

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