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Columbus Workers' Compensation Law Blog

In summer, many workers are vulnerable to heat illness

Today is the first day of July. Though it is still early summer, many parts of the country have already experienced intense heat waves. Those places that have not yet felt the full blast of summer soon will.

People who spend most of their days indoors may not think about it, but the sun can make you sick. Many jobs, such as construction or agricultural work, require workers to spend their time outside. Without proper and reasonable precautions, like sufficient rest breaks and access to water, heat illnesses can occur.

He Ran!!

Remember my first blog regarding the Case of Eric Conn? If not, click the link to read it now!

So Eric Conn pleaded guilty to all those charges, government witnesses warned he was a flight risk and the Courier-Journal, testified that he had spoken about leaving for Ecuador or Cuba, and may even have had at least a quarter-million dollars in cash in a safe-deposit box.

The judge still granted release to Conn! This was because the judge classified the testimony as "hearsay". A man who schemed $600 million from the government "wasn't a flight risk", obviously now the Judge is regretting that decision.

At this point he is nowhere to be found. All there is left of Conn is his commercials. Take a look... these commercials or his rap song, they are definitely entertaining, lol!

Conn FB.jpg

Social Security Fraud Scheme - Administrative Law Judge pleads guilty!

Remember not long ago I posted this story on Attorney Eric Conn... Well this is one of his co-conspirators former ALJ David Black Daugherty.

ALJ Pic FB.jpgDavid Daugherty has pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving illegal gratuities, he is set for sentencing on August 25, 2017. Daugherty had been a judge for more than 20 years when in November 2004 he decided to throw it all away. Daugherty began to accept cash payments from November of 2004 until April 2011, accepting more than $609,000 in cash payments in more than approximately 3,100 cases from Eric Conn.

Daugherty admitted to seeking out Conn's pending cases with the Huntington Hearing Office, and would call to disclose the exact medical evidence needed to win the case. According to the plea, this led Conn to receive at least $7.1 million in representative fees from the SSA and Daugherty obligated the SSA to pay more than $550 million in lifetime benefits to claimants.

 

Orange County Couple Gets $40 Million from Workers Comp Scam

The District Attorney of Orange County Tony Rackauckas, filed several federal charges against two individuals Christopher and Tanya King.

The DA has claimed the King's have used their companies - Monarch Medical Group, King Medical Management and One Source Laboratories - to "recruit doctors and pharmacists to prescribe unnecessary treatments for workers' compensation patients".

The King's have allegedly victomized over 13,000 patients accumilating over $23 million, and the Doctors and Pharmacists that assisted received kickbacks from that as well. Because of this, Rackauckas announced charges were filed against 26 people, including 21 doctors. 

The DA's office determined creams that were not FDA approved, bought for between $15-$40 was billed to insurance companies for $250-$700. 

A pharmacist at Steven's Pharmacy told ABC7 the claims were false. The Kings were also accused of working with doctors to order bogus urine tests. 

If convicted of all charges, Tanya King faces a maximum of 117 years in prison.

OSHA Finds - Employer Did Not Provide Safety Training & Basic Safeguards For Employees

In October of 2016, two workers died in Boston while working in about a 12-foot deep trench. Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks were working when the trench collapsed breaking an adjacent fire hydrant supply line causing the trench to fill in seconds.

This led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to investigate their employer Atlantic Drain Service Co. Inc. They found, the company failed to provide basic safeguards against collapse and did not train the employees.

OSHA's inspection determined that Atlantic Drain and owner Kevin Otto, who oversaw the work on the day of the fatalities, did not:

- Install a support system to protect employees in an approximately 12-foot deep trench from a cave-in and prevent the adjacent fire hydrant from collapsing.

- Remove employees from the hazardous conditions in the trench.

- Train the workers in how to identify and address hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.

- Provide a ladder at all times so employees could exit the trench.

- Support structures next to the trench that posed overhead hazards.

- Provide employees with hardhats and eye protection.

Atlantic Drain was cited back in 2007 and 2012 by OSHA for similar hazards. This time, OSHA cited the company for 18 violations and is proposing $1,475,813 in penalties for the violations. In February, a grand jury of Suffolk County indicted Atlantic Drain and company owner, Kevin Otto, on two counts each of manslaughter and other charges in connection with the deaths.

Atlantic drain has 15 working days from the receipt of citations and proposed penalties to contest if it chooses to do so.

Hopefully now the company will take responsibility and provide safe and healthful working conditions for their employees.

If you've been hurt on the job, click here to contact us. 

New Law Going Into Effect in April

Senate Bill 27 which passed in 2016, will go into effect April 6th. 

Under the firefighter-cancer presumption law, current and retired firefighters who suffer from various cancers will be able to receive workers compensation benefits

The amended code in Ohio now states, "Cancer contracted by a firefighter who has been assigned to at least six years of hazardous duty as a firefighter constitutes a presumption that the cancer was contracted in the course of and arising out of the firefighter's employment if the firefighter was exposed to an agent classified by the international agency for research on cancer or its successor organization as a group 1 or 2A carcinogen." 

The law is rebuttable based off nemerous things a few being exposure to tobacco, cigarrettes and/or other hazardous cancer causing entity. If it has been over 20 years since the last assigned hazardous duty, this law will not apply.

Contact us if you have any questions. 

Disability Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Fraud Case

Eastern Kentucky Social Security Attorney Eric Conn has recently plead guilty to one count of stealing from the Social Security Administration and one count of paying illegal gratuities to a federal judge.

Since October 2004, Conn has been involved in this scheme. Conn has admitted when explaining his illegal conduct that in well over 1700 cases, "I submitted or allowed the submission of medical records that I knew to be fraudulent in nature,".

Clearly this could not be done alone, other defendants are David B. Daugherty, a former Social Security judge accused of approving the wrongful claims and Pikeville psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins accused of signing false mental-impairment evaluations for Conn's clients. Both have pleaded their innocence. 

Everything went bad once Daughtery began to require more and more funds from Conn.

Two former employees at the Huntington SSA office tried to bring attention to this scheme long before anything was discovered. The two now have a suit to receive compensation from a portion of the money the government recovers in fraud cases. 

Conn has aceepted a plea deal. In his arrangement, over more than a dozen charges will be dismissed including mail and wire fraud, conspiring to retaliate against a witness, destroying evidence and money laundering. He will face up to 12 years in prison and be responsible for paying the government $5.7 million for engaging in fraud and also $46.5 million in restitution to the Social Security Administration. 

The agency ultimately identified about 1,500 beneficiaries, most of them in Eastern Kentucky, for re-determination hearings. Most have been heard and a little less than half the people won decisions to keep their benefits. Those that lost may appeal.

In this case, it appears justice will be served but unfortunately innocent people were hurt in the process. 

Please contact The Bainbridge Firm for any Social Security Disability help. 

Will the Bureau of Workers' Compensation reimburse me for my loved one's funeral expenses?

Revised Code § 4123.66 authorizes the Bureau to pay reasonable funeral expenses in an amount not exceeding $5,500 if death results from a covered injury or occupational disease. The Bureau may reimburse anyone, whether that person is a dependent, a volunteer, or someone who otherwise pays the funeral expenses. A 1959 amendment authorized reimbursement of a volunteer. The cost of treatment by medical personnel given in an effort to revive the employee, including ambulance service, oxygen, injections, and the like, is also reimbursable in death claims. 

What is DWRF?

DWRF is an acronym that stands for Disabled Workers Relief Fund. This fund was created to assist injured workers who have been declared permanently and totally disabled whose compensation rates have not kept pace with inflation and the cost of living. DWRF eligibility is determined automatically for every injured worker who is declared permanently and totally disabled (PTD). No action on the part of the injured worker is needed. DWRF eligibility is based on the combined total of permanent toal disability and Social Security disability received by the injured worker. 

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