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Justice O'Connor & Social Security Disability

Thursday, July 7, 2005

OK, what would a legal blog be without our two cents about Justice Sandra Day O‚ÄôConnor‚Äôs retirement? What will it mean for New York Social Security disability claimants? Probably a big whopping nothing! Other than her concurring opinion in Sims v Apfel, O‚ÄôConnor will leave an inconsequential mark on Social Security disability jurisprudence. However, for the larger disability rights community, Justice O‚ÄôConnor has left a significant positive impact. In the 2004 case of Tennessee v Lane, she sided with paraplegics (bucking Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas) by upholding the Americans with Disabilities Act and requiring state courts to be accessible to […]

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Pataki Signs 9/11 New York Disability Pension Law

Friday, July 1, 2005

In a significant win for the rescue and recovery heroes of 9/11 and New York’s municipal unions, last week Gov. George Pataki finally signed the 75% disability pension bill for workers who become ill as a result of working at Ground Zero. Municipal employees, mostly police and firemen, who worked more than 40 hours at Ground Zero and develop cancer or other diseases are now presumed to have gotten these illnesses from the 9/11 clean up, unless the employer can prove otherwise. I have a 36 year old friend who is a New York City fireman (New York’s Bravest) and […]

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Social Security Disability Lawyer Seminar 8/11/05

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Suffolk County Bar Association has invited me to present a Continuing Legal Education Seminar on Thursday, August 11, 2005, entitled “Malpractice Avoidance for Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorneys“. I will be presenting with my colleagues Vic Fusco and Dennis Chase. Lawyers who attend will earn two CLE ethics credits. In the past year, I have testified as an expert witness in two legal malpractice cases involving workers’ compensation claims. In both, the legal malpractice was clear – it was just about estimating damages. One case settled in the 7 figure range and one in the 6 figure […]

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Workers Compensation for Victims of Highway Crash?

Friday, June 24, 2005

The fiery crash yesterday which killed three immigrant workers commuting in a dangerous 15 passenger van to a factory on Long Island raises interesting workers compensation legal issues. The workers who packed the van were from a Brooklyn Haitian community almost 50 miles away from bath products factory on Long Island. It is increasingly common for Long Island employers to recruit immigrant workers from the city and provide transportation. Employers simply can’t find enough Long Islanders to do simple factory work at the low wages they are willing to pay. I have had cases involving Long Island employers importing workers […]

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Workers Compensation Bar Raises $20,000 for Pediatric Cancer

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The annual New York Workers Compensation Bar Association golf outing yesterday raised a record $20,000 for pediatric cancer research. Bill Turley, Vince Hannigan and Craig Rosasco led our golf contingent, while Aimee Berlin and Jaclyn Marziliano Simmons hit the tennis courts – all for a good cause. Chris Redmond, Ronna Horwitz-Bard and I handled office duty until I joined the crew in the evening for the awards ceremony. Hats off to my fellow workers compensation lawyers Ken Larkin and Ed Romano for organizing this wonderful event, and to Summit Pharmacy for their generous contribution to help kids with cancer. Who […]

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Social Security Dreams & Safety Nets

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Great article on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times about how Social Security is currently a lifeline for 2/3 of all Americans, and why women in particular would be hurt by the President’s privatization plan. Nearly 1/3 of all Americans receiving Social Security are single women. Many were divorced late in life and left with little or no savings. Due to child rearing responsibilities, they did not have the luxury of a regular attachment to the workforce like most men. The current Social Security program made allowances for this fact. A divorced spouse was allowed to collect a […]

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Raising Social Security Age to 69 Will Put More on Disability

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In an effort to jump start the President’s stalled Social Security privatization plan, Senate Republicans are now proposing to raise the normal retirement age to 69. Those of us who represent the disabled have to watch this carefully. As both academics and those of us in the trenches will tell you, this proposal would ordinarily force more older Americans onto the disability program – thereby not fixing Social Security’s solvency problem. But what if the sly Senate Republicans simultaneously make the standard for obtaining disability benefits so high that no one qualifies? They could have their cake and eat it […]

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New York Workers Compensation Benefit Increase Bill Introduced

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Here is a summary of the new Workers Compensation bill introduced on 6/9/05 in the State Assembly and supported by the New York State AFL-CIO. It provides a long overdue benefit increase for injured workers AND provides significant cost savings for employers. Sounds like a win/win to me! Thanks to my partner Chris Redmond, the firm’s WILG representative, for bringing to my attention the recent workers compensation benefit increase negotiated in Illinois. Chris just got back from the latest WILG Conference in Washington, DC where attorneys from others states were a lot less optimistic about real benefit increases for workers. […]

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New York Social Security Disability Bar Dinner

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Had a great time last Thursday night at the New York Social Security Bar Dinner. Along with five other attorneys and staff from my office, we got a chance to socialize and laugh with old friends and colleagues, including Richard Morris and Vic Fusco. Judge Emanuel Poverstein from the Long Island Office of Hearings & Appeals was presented with the Lester Rosen Memorial Award – the highest honor an Administrative Law Judge in the New York region can attain. In his acceptance speech, Judge Poverstein humbly described the role of a Social Security Judge: “Helping the most vulnerable in our […]

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Poetry to the Rescue for AIG?

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

The Workers’ Comp Insider, an excellent employer oriented blog for workers compensation info published by Lynch Ryan, has a great post on AIG’s public relations attempts to get out from under the current scandal by using poetry. If I recite a few verses to the next AIG adjuster I talk to, I wonder how far it will get me…hmm, maybe not. As I frequently say to my partner Bill Turley, “You can’t make this stuff up!”

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