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Showing 11 posts by Michael A. Cassar.

COVID-19: Is It An Occupational Disease or Personal Injury – And Does It Really Even Matter?

Warehouse Workers with MasksUnfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide. At the time of this article being published, there have been nearly 28,000,000 cases and over 485,000 deaths in the United States. Over 600,000 cases and almost 16,000 deaths have occurred in Michigan, alone.

In response to the pandemic, many jurisdictions have implemented various Emergency Rules and Orders to all but ensure compensability for certain delineated essential, frontline and first response employees who contract COVID-19. Other states, like Illinois, have enacted actual legislation that similarly relaxes the burden of proving compensability for some of these favored workers. We have written about these Rules, Orders, and legislation on several occasions over the course of the last year. You can read our most recent article on this topic here. Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation

Court of Appeals Rules: Employee Fraud was Never a Condition for Recoupment Action

Employee InjuryThe Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion discussing the retroactivity of a prior opinion regarding the right of employers and insurance carriers to seek recoupment of benefits overpaid to an injured worker in the absence of fraud by the worker. Norman Carson v Bandit Industries Inc and Acuity Mutual Insurance Co, __ Mich App _ (2020). Read More ›

Categories: Fraud & Abuse, Insurance, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

COVID-19 Related Paid Leave Tax Credits Extended Into 2021

COVID Paid Sick LeaveThe federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA was intended to provide support to workers who were unable to work while complying with government-mandated quarantines following exposure to COVID-19 or while taking care of someone else in quarantine. The law required employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to pay certain employees Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family Medical Leave and/or Expanded Emergency Family and Medical Leave (together, “FFCRA Leave”) as more fully described below. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Employment, Workers' Compensation

Appeals Court Rejects Comp Benefits in ‘Special Mission’ Case

ClassroomOn December 17, 2020, in an unpublished per curium decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed an award of workers' compensation survivor’s benefits that had been given to a widow whose spouse had been killed while he was traveling to a class the employer had encouraged him to attend and for which the employer had paid pursuant to its employee education assistance and tuition reimbursement program. See Lewis v LexaMar Corp, Mich App __ (2020)Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Employment, Workers' Compensation

Deputy Director of LEO Issues New Emergency Rule Affecting Workers’ Compensation

Workers' Compensation Claim FormOn October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the law upon which Governor Gretchen Whitmer relied to extend the State of Emergency after April 30, 2020 is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's ruling, which we discuss here, invalidates the Governor's Executive Orders issued during the extended State of Emergency. Executive Order 2020-128, issued on June 18, 2020, established a rebuttable presumption that a "COVID-19 Response Employee" (a term which was not well-defined within the Executive Order) has sustained a compensable injury when he or she is diagnosed with COVID-19. Executive Order 2020-128 contained language quite similar to the March 30, 2020 Emergency Rule issued by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity ("LEO"). Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Recent Michigan Supreme Court Decision Affects Workers' Comp COVID-19 Rebuttable Presumption

Court RoomOn October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding whether Governor Gretchen Whitmer had the authority to declare and extend a State of Emergency and issue Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lengthy opinion, the Court held that the Governor did not have proper authority because the law upon which she relied is unconstitutional.  Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Michigan Legislators Propose Amendment to Workers’ Compensation Law to Benefit Certain COVID-19 Positive Employees

Face MasksAs you will recall, the Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity promulgated Emergency Rules (“Rules”) on March 30, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we discussed in a previous blog post, the Rules establish a rebuttable presumption of personal injury for “first response employees” who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Now, the Michigan legislature is getting involved in the issue. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates

Michigan's Emergency Rules Give Personal Injury Presumption to "First Response Employees" with COVID-19

As you know, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of that response, Governor Whitmer, in conjunction with the Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Jeff Donofrio, promulgated Emergency Rules (“Rules”) regarding workers’ compensation coverage for certain employees working in the health field, including first responders. We discussed the Rules in an earlier article, and we prepared this article in response to several questions we have received from clients in order to clarify some of the ambiguities in the Rules.

To read further on the Emergency Rules surrounding first responders from Foster Swift's Workers' Comp practice group, see more here.

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation

Appeals Court: J-1 Visa Employee at MSU Ineligible for Workers' Compensation

Work Injury Claim FormIn May 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided Kuhlbert v Michigan State University. This case examines several interesting workers' compensation issues which we will analyze in a three-part series. Today, we discuss the case’s complicated facts and procedural history, and whether the plaintiff should be considered an “employee” pursuant to Michigan’s Workers' Disability Compensation Act (the “Act”). For more on the facts surrounding this case, see full article here.

Categories: Case Law Updates, Workers' Compensation

What is a Good-Faith Job Search Effort? Michigan Legislature Considers New Bill

MCL 418.301(5) sets forth the four requirements a claimant must satisfy in order to qualify for workers' compensation wage loss benefits.  The claimant must:

  1. Disclose his qualifications and training,
  2. Provide a list of jobs he is qualified and trained to perform within the same salary range as the job at which he was injured,
  3. Demonstrate that the work-related injury prevents him from performing the jobs he identified as within his qualifications and training that pay maximum wages, and
  4. If he is capable of performing any of the jobs within his qualifications, he must demonstrate that he cannot obtain any of those jobs by showing a good-faith attempt to procure post-injury employment

When analyzing the fourth element, how does a magistrate determine what is and what is not a good-faith job search effort? For more on what constitutes a good faith job search effort, see full article here.

Categories: Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation