Attorney Nelson Hall of Bennett Hartman Morris & Kaplan, representing the injured party, brought to close a medically complex negligence case that involved multiple defendants who failed to identify and diagnose a heart condition which subsequently harmed the client. Attorney Hall called upon several medical experts to prove violations of the standard of care, causation, and damages. He settled the case short of going to trial, a substantial cost-savings for his client. Additionally, he settled the related case for the injured party’s spouse who brought a loss of consortium claim against the defendants.
In July of 2012, attorney Nelson Hall won an important victory for firefighters in a work-related testicular cancer case. Hall proved to the Workers’ Compensation Board that the insurance company had failed to rebut the presumption that the firefighter’s testicular cancer resulted from his employment as a firefighter. This is the first in a string of cancer cases that Hall is pursuing on behalf of the firefighters. Further information here.
Nearly two years to the day after an Oregon firefighter was diagnosed with testicular cancer the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) affirmed an Administrative Law Judge’s finding that the firefighter’s cancer was work–related. Attorney Nelson Hall of Bennett Hartman Morris & Kaplan represented the firefighter.
The firefighter filed a workers’ compensation claim with SAIF in 2010 alleging that his exposure to smoke and chemicals while fighting fires caused his condition. SAIF denied his claim, and the firefighter appealed. On appeal, the issue was whether SAIF had established by clear and convincing medical evidence that the testicular cancer was not caused or contributed to in material part by his work as a firefighter pursuant to ORS 656.802(5). This rule provides that certain identified cancers (including testicular cancer) are presumed to result from qualifying firefighter’s employment. The WCB review panel found that medical experts testifying on behalf of the firefighter persuasively rebutted SAIF’s opinions regarding the relationship between occupational exposures of firefighting and the development of testicular cancer.
After an Administrative Law Judge upheld SAIF’s denial of a firefighter’s occupational disease claim for a heart condition, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) reversed the decision, finding in favor of the firefighter on the issue of compensability.
The WCB concluded that the opinions of SAIF’s medical experts were insufficient to overcome the “firefighter presumption” in ORS 656.802(4). The presumption holds that death, disability or impairment of health, caused by any disease of the lungs or respiratory tract, hypertension or cardiovascular-renal disease, and resulting from employment as firefighters, is an occupational disease and shall be presumed to result from a firefighter’s employment.
The WCB found that SAIF had not established that the firefighter’s heart condition was unrelated to his employment. SAIF was ordered to process the claim and pay the firefighter’s litigation costs.