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Sandra Martone v. Community Medical Center

Client: Community Medical Center

Court: Appellate

Brief Attorney: Michael McCaffrey, Esq.

Trial Attorney: Anne Hammill Pasqua, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The petitioner filed a Motion for Medical Treatment seeking a right total knee arthroplasty revision supported by the opinion of Dr. Post. Respondent opposed the Motion based upon the opinions of authorized provider, Dr. Arthur Mark, as well as a second doctor, Dr. Michael Sidor. Both doctors did not recommend further treatment as it was not likely to cure or relieve the petitioner of the effects of the injury under N.J.S.A. 34:15-15. There was the risk that further surgery would have a poor result.  Following testimony of the petitioner and all three doctors, the judge denied the motion and petitioner appealed.

On appeal, respondent maintained that the denial was appropriate as there was more than sufficient evidence to support the judge’s opinion and in finding Dr. Sidor more credible than petitioner’s expert, Dr. Post.  Respondent further argued that Dr. Mark’s opinion, as the authorized treating doctor, is entitled to greater weight than that of Dr. Post.  At Oral Argument, Respondent highlighted that the medical testimony and evidence that further treatment was not only not necessary but likely to cause more harm as explained by Dr. Sidor and Dr. Mark.   The appellate court agreed and affirmed. The appellate court also touched upon petitioner’s complaints being out of proportion to what one would expect in a typical patient.

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Wirth v. Hoboken BOE

Client: Hoboken BOE (JIF)

Court: Appellate

Brief Attorney: Andrea L. Schlafer, Esq.

Trial Attorney: Andrea L. Schlafer, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Ms. Ryan-Wirth filed a claim petition and motion for medical and temporary disability benefits seeking an order compelling the Hoboken Board of Education to pay for her fusion surgery as well as temporary disability benefits. 

Petitioner, a full-time school nurse at the Hoboken Middle School, applied for a position as a student monitor for some extra income.  The service was known as the A.M. Care Program for students who needed to arrive early to school. Teachers and other staff who provided monitoring services received a stipend of $30 per day. Petitioner arrived on September 10, 2019 but claimed to have received very little instruction on her first day. The next day on September 11, 2019, she came to school early with the intention of participating in the A.M. Care Program.  However, she instead engaged in a Cardio Class occurring in the gymnasium.

Ms. Ryan-Wirth testified that upon entering the school she was greeted by the Principal, who was dressed in workout clothes. She claimed the Principal informed her that there was no need for any additional A.M. Care Program monitors that morning, but that she was welcome to participate in the Cardio Club. Ms. Ryan-Wirth maintained that she felt pressured to participate in the Cardio Club because the Principal was her boss. Ms. Ryan-Wirth suffered serious back injuries on September 11, 2019, while pulling a car tire in a relay race, falling backwards on her rear end. 

On cross examination, petitioner admitted that she had a personal motive for wanting to participate in the Cardio Club.  She said that six weeks after giving birth, her doctor cleared her to exercise.  She went for walks and she went to the gym twice a week. After giving birth, she participated in a weight loss challenge to lose 30 pounds by Christmas for a cash prize.

Petitioner’s attorney maintained that petitioner was on school grounds on a work day when she was injured, and she felt pressured to participate in the Cardio Club.  The Judge of Compensation ruled against petitioner and held that petitioner’s injury did not arise from work.  Petitioner appealed.  The Appellate Court first reviewed the recent decision in Goulding where a cook volunteered to participate in a Family Fun Day and was injured while cooking for guests and employees. In that case the Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Goulding’s injury was not a recreational activity because she was doing the same work she always did during the week and because she did not participate in any of the games or activities.

The Appellate Division believed that Ms. Ryan-Wirth was not participating in a recreational activity under N.J.S.A. 34:15-7 because the Cardio Club was not really a social or recreational activity given its emphasis on learning for students.  But as to petitioner the Appellate Division held that the activity did not arise out of work. 

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Wirth v. Hoboken BOE

Client: Hoboken BOE

Court:  Workers’ Compensation

Trial Attorney:  Andrea L. Schlafer, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Andrea L. Schlafer, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The Petitioner filed a Claim Petition alleging her injury to the lumbar spine necessitating a three level fusion occurred in the course and scope of employment. Respondent, through counsel, denied the claim as arising out of employment as the petitioner was engaging in a fitness club when the injury occurred. Furthermore, it was Respondent’s position that the activity engaged in whether the incident occurred was “social and/or recreational” thus not compensable. After a lengthy trial,  the Judge of Compensation found that the accident did not arise out of employment and dismissed the claim with prejudice.

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Emily Manuel/High Point Prop. and Casualty v. RWJ Barnabas Health

Client: RWJ Barnabas Health

Court:  Superior Court of New Jersey
Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Christina M. Adinolfi Shea, Esq.

Brief Attorney: Christina M. Adinolfi Shea, Esq. and Caroline N. Yount, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

The New Jersey Appellate Division decided on October 16, 2019, that a nurse who was walking from work premises to a parking lot following her shift at Jersey City Medical Center/RWJBH was not in the course of employment when she was struck by a motor vehicle.

Petitioner had appealed the ruling of a Judge of Compensation that her injuries did not arise out of and in the course of her employment.  The Judge had found petitioner was injured on a public street, not within the control of the hospital and that the hospital did not exercise daily control and maintenance of the parking lot. The Appellate Division agreed that petitioner was not injured in the course of her employment and did not suffer a compensable injury.

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Marconi v. United Airlines

Client: United Airlines/Sedgwick

Court:  Workers’ Comp Court in Newark

Trial Attorney:  Prudence M. Higbee, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

In the reported case of Marconi v. United Airlines, 460 N.J. Super. 330 (App. Div. 2019), the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of two claims against United Airlines for lack of jurisdiction. Richard Marconi lived in New Jersey and suffered a work injury to his left hip on January 31, 2015 working for United Airlines in Philadelphia.  United paid full benefits to Marconi under Pennsylvania law, but eventually Marconi brought two claim petitions in New Jersey seeking permanency benefits that were not available in Pennsylvania.  One claim petition was for the accident in 2015 and the other was an occupational claim alleging work exposures from 1988 to the present.  Mr. Marconi admitted he was not hired in New Jersey and worked most of his career in Philadelphia, with only a brief period of employment at Dulles Airport.

United moved to dismiss both claim petitions for lack of jurisdiction in New Jersey.  Petitioner argued that even if residency alone was insufficient for a finding of jurisdiction, Professor Larson’s fourth factor, namely “place where the industry is localized,” in conjunction with petitioner’s residency in New Jersey is sufficient for a finding of jurisdiction.  However, the Appellate Division disagreed, explaining the concept of localization should be analyzed in terms of advancement of company interests, not its mere presence in the State. In this case, the Court found that, “nothing in the course of Marconi’s two-decade employment with United advanced the company’s localized interests in New Jersey.  In these circumstances, although United maintained a localized business interest in Newark, New Jersey has no substantial interest in exercising its jurisdiction over the petitions.”  As such, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissals of both claim petitions.

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Patricia Costanzo vs. Meridian Rehab

Client: Meridian Rehab

Court: Freehold Workers’ Compensation Court

Trial Attorney:  Carla P. Aldarelli, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Maura Burk, Esq. 

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner filed a Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits seeking treatment for her left knee as recommended by her medical expert.

The Motion was fully tried, and testimony was taken from petitioner, petitioner’s medical expert, and from Respondent’s medical expert.

The Judge denied the Motion for Medical and/or Temporary Disability Benefits, finding that Respondent’s medical expert was more credible than petitioner’s medical expert, and found that petitioner failed to establish that any need for treatment to her left knee was work related.

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Mary Grace Lawson v. New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, NO. A-4058-17T1

Client: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority

Court:  Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Keith E. Nagy, Esq.

Brief Attorney:  Keith E. Nagy, Esq. and John H. Geaney, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner appealed the Workers Compensation Court’s finding that she was not entitled to wage reconstruction after a full trial on the issue. After trial, the lower court found that the petitioner did not sustain her burden of proof as she found the petitioner capable of a myriad of strenuous activities and found that the petitioner failed to prove that she lacked the potential for full time employment. Petitioner appealed arguing that she never returned to full-time employment and that she had a significant injury.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Court’s finding that the petitioner did not sustain her burden of proof pursuant to Katsoris v. South Jersey Publishing Co., 131 N.J. 535 (1993). The Appellate Division noted that the applicable standard is that an enhanced award utilizing wage reconstruction is to compensate the injured employee “for his loss of earning capacity, i.e., diminution of future earning power.” Id. at 546 (quoting Torres v. Trenton Times Newspaper, 64 N.J. 458, 460-61 (1974)). That diminution includes the employee’s capacity to work full time either now or in the future. Id. at 548. The Appellate Division found that the record supported the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s findings that the petitioner’s accident did not diminish her capacity to perform full-time work.

To view case, click here.

 

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Alma Camarena v. Sprint PCS, No. A-2205-17T2

Client: Sprint PCS

Court:  Appellate Division

Trial Attorney:  Michelle L. Duffield, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Petitioner obtained an award of 30% permanent partial disability in 2003 arising from a work-related motor vehicle accident dating back to 1999. The award was for a bulging disc at C6-7 and disc protrusions at L4-5 and L5-S1. Petitioner later reopened the award and sought total and permanent disability benefits with the Second Injury Fund. We successfully argued that petitioner’s subsequent increased disability was not related to the 1999 work accident but to subsequent non-work injuries.

To view case, click here.

 

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Capehart Scatchard Supports Kids’ Chance of New Jersey

L to R: Carol Wright, Stephen Fannon, Ashley Mollenthiel Fiore, Andrea Schlafer, Lora Northen, Katherine Hellander Geist, Carla Aldarelli, and John Geaney.

Attorneys from Capehart Scatchard’s Workers’ Compensation Department recently attended the Seventh Annual Gala for Kids’ Chance of New Jersey.  The event was held on July 11, 2019 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, N.J.

The Gala was a fundraiser for Kids’ Chance, a non-profit organization, created to provide educational opportunities and scholarships for the children of workers who were fatally or catastrophically injured on the job.  John Geaney and Lora Northen, shareholders in the firm, serve as members of the Kids’ Chance Board of Directors, and Director of Marketing, Carol Wright, serves as an Advisory Board member.

The highlight of this year’s Gala featured the presentation of scholarships to twenty students whose parents suffered fatal or physically catastrophic injuries while working.  Each student was awarded up to $10,000 for the upcoming school year.  Capehart Scatchard co-sponsored the scholarship given to Will Gardner whose father, Bill Gardner, who worked for Fed-Ex as a truck driver, lost his life in a work- related truck accident.

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Seminar: Key Workers’ Compensation Defenses and More

Seminar: Key Workers’ Compensation Defenses and More

Ashley Mollenthiel Fiore, Esq. and Andrea Schlafer, Esq. will be presenting at the South Jersey Claims Association Event on March 13, 2018. The presentation will focus on Key Workers’ Compensation Defenses – what you need to know to assist in limiting case exposure potential and to win cases! The presentation will also delve into Hot Topic Issues being litigated in Workers’ Compensation Court.

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