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Temporary-Staffing Agency Found Not Liable in Workers’ Compensation Case

Case Study

Temporary-Staffing Agency Found Not Liable in Workers’ Compensation Case

January 29, 2019
Danielle O. Nelson

The case of the workers’ compensation claim that was approved but never yielded a penny began in September 2017, with a 59-year-old temporary mailroom worker feeling back pain; ended in October 2018, with one of our associate attorneys successfully defending the temporary-staffing agency at risk of being held liable; and moved along in the interim on small but consequential decisions by the worker that changed the complexion of her established claim.

Key among these decisions was the one the woman made not to collect immediately on her claim, which sought compensation for lost earnings and medical bills, but instead to work through her injury by continuing to report for her mailroom job until it ended. When she finally sought to collect on the claim, she no longer was working in the mailroom; rather, she was unemployed and looking for a new job. Job-hunting and taking classes had effectively reattached her to the labor market, she maintained. And when she found a part-time job making less than she had made with our client, she claimed she was entitled to reduced earnings.

Tapped in early 2018 to defend the staffing agency that had placed the woman in the mailroom job and now was at risk of being found liable for upward of $16,300 because of her claim, was associate attorney Danielle O. Nelson, of our Workers’ Compensation Practice Group. Danielle counsels and represents employers, insurers, and third-party administrators in a wide variety of workers’ compensation matters and is experienced in handling hearings before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, having previously worked in litigation for the Special Funds Conservation Committee.

Danielle argued that the claimant wasn’t attached to the labor market and wasn’t entitled to any benefits while looking for work or any difference in earnings for making less in a new job. She proved the claimant’s doctor had not placed any restrictions on her requiring her to work only part-time.

The judge found the claimant was not entitled to reduced earnings.