Latest from HeplerBroom Blog - Page 2

by Sean S. Sheehan

It’s important that those who work with personal injury settlements stay up to date on the various requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Therefore, we once again present our beginning-of-the-year summary of important updates and trends in Medicare Secondary Payer laws, processes, and procedures.
PAID Act Implemented
CMS fully implemented the PAID (Provide Accurate Information Directly) Act on December 11, 2021. (Our previous blog post describing the provisions of the PAID Act is available here.) Earlier in 2021, CMS updated the software used to access its query system. It allowed
Continue Reading Medicare Secondary Payer News, Notes, and Trends for 2022

by Meg L. Fowler

In Babb v. Bartlett, ED 109479, 2021 WL 5894626 (Mo.App. E.D. Dec. 14, 2021), the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri recently affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of an action for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Case Background
This case involved a commercial truck driver. The defendant, Oklahoma resident Tiffany Bartlett, was driving for Meier Environmental Services and Associates, Inc. d/b/a Mesa, Inc. (“Mesa”), a Missouri corporation. As she was driving her truck in California, she struck the vehicle of the plaintiff, Charles Babb, also an Oklahoma resident[1]. Despite the fact
Continue Reading Missouri Court Refuses to Extend Personal Jurisdiction to Truck Driver Driving for Missouri Company

by Bradley M. Zaffiri

The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District recently reaffirmed that owned-vehicle exclusions in automobile liability insurance policies that provide uninsured motorist coverage are enforceable for any coverage limits above the $25,000 minimum required under Missouri’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRKL). Jones v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., 632 S.W.3d 482 (Mo. App. W.D. 2021)
Case Background
Plaintiff Courtney Jones was driving her 2014 Toyota Sequoia when another driver turned left in front of her, causing a collision that resulted in serious injuries to her neck and arm. The other driver did not
Continue Reading Missouri Appellate Court Reaffirmed Owned-Vehicle Exclusions in Uninsured Motorist Coverage

by Tammera E. Banasek

The proper venue or forum for a Plaintiff’s suit is an ever-changing and frequently litigated dispute. The recent case in Illinois’ First District Appellate Court in Malloy v. DuPage Gynecology, 2021 Il App (1st) 19202 (September 30, 2021), provided a less than favorable result for Defendants, on both venue and forum. However, the opinion provides some insight—particularly in venues that are in close physical proximity—that more specific information needs to be provided for a court’s analysis in several of the key forum components. (As always, this begs the question for defense counsel whether a forum
Continue Reading There’s No Place Like Home—Unless You Live Next Door: Venue and Forum in Litigation

by Kathleen S. Hamilton
The Missouri Supreme Court recently held that a plaintiff could not hold a former co-employee personally liable for a workplace injury because with one exception, co-employees are legally entitled to immunity under the 2012 amendment to Missouri Statute Section 287.120.1 of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Case Background
Plaintiff Danny Brock worked at JMC Manufacturing, which utilizes a high-pressure laminating machine to laminate particle boards. Mark Edwards, one of plaintiff’s co-employees who was also a supervisor at JMC, was working with the plaintiff on April 30, 2013. They were using the machine to laminate particle boards when
Continue Reading Co-Employee Immunity Under Workers’ Compensation Act in Light of New Missouri Supreme Court Opinion

by Audra Zobrist

Regardless of the type of case being tried, it is a longstanding tenet of evidence practice that hearsay statements are inadmissible at trial. The problem with admitting such evidence is that the maker cannot be cross-examined to scrutinize the accuracy, context, and other aspects of the statement. Recently, courts in California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, reviewing cases based on exposure to talcum powder allegedly contaminated with asbestos, have held that certain evidence presented to establish proof of contamination was inadmissible as hearsay.
Pennsylvania Court Rules Quoting Another Expert’s Report is Hearsay
In Brandt v. Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., 2020
Continue Reading Courts Deny Evidence of Asbestos Contamination of Talcum Powder as Hearsay

by Weston T. Stoddard
On November 1, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico denied Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to block an Executive Order requiring COVID-19 vaccination and dismissed the case. Rodriguez-Velez v. Pierluisi-Urrutia, No. 21-CV-1366 PAD, 2021 WL 5072017, at *1 (D.P.R. Nov. 1, 2021).  (A copy of the District Court’s opinion is available here.)
Case Background
On July 28, 2021, Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi-Urrutia issued Executive Order 21-058, requiring public employees of the Executive Branch that work in person to be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021. Id.
Continue Reading District Court of Puerto Rico Denies Preliminary Injunction and Dismisses Case Seeking to Halt Vaccine Mandate for Executive Branch Employees

by Julieta A. Kosiba

On November 4, 2021, in a consolidated appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld New York Department of Health’s rule requiring healthcare facilities to ensure that certain employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. We the Patriots USA, Inc. v. Hochul, Nos. 21-2179 and 21-2566, 2021 WL 5121983, *1-2 (2nd Cir. Nov. 4, 2021). (The appellate opinion can be accessed here.)

In upholding the mandate, the Second Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York and affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New
Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds Vaccine Mandate for New York’s Healthcare Workers

by Michael P. Murphy

The Illinois Pollution Control Board issued a ruling on November 4, 2021, which, if approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), will become the first time-limited water quality standard (TLWQS) in Illinois. The TLWQS represents a variance from the applicable water quality standard for chloride and only applies to two watersheds in the Chicago area: the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and the Lower Des Plaines River (LDPR). (The Opinion and Order, which was entered on November 4, 2021, is available here.)
Summary of Ruling
The TLWQS is granted for a 15-year
Continue Reading Illinois Pollution Control Board Adopts First Time-Limited Water Quality Standard

by Joseph H. Neill
The Missouri legislature recently passed SB 295 – the “Missouri Statutory Thresholds for Settlements Involving Minors Act” – easing requirements for finalizing settlements of personal injury and other claims involving minor children.[1] The bill (now codified as Section 436.700, RSMo) was effective August 28, 2021. With the newly enacted statute, claimants and adverse parties can expect to save a lot of time and expense on attorneys’ fees and court costs. The key point is that if certain conditions are met,[2] court approval is no longer required to settle a claim on behalf
Continue Reading New Missouri Statute Eases Requirements for Finalizing Settlements for Minors

by Weston T. Stoddard
On October 15, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the enforcement of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees. Mass. Corr. Officers Fed. Union v. Baker, No. 21-CV-11599 TSH, 2021 WL 4822154 at *1 (D. Mass. Oct. 15, 2021). (The district court’s opinion is available here.)
Case Background
On August 19, 2021, the Governor of Massachusetts issued an executive order requiring all executive agencies to implement a policy requiring COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of continuing employment. Id. at *2.
Continue Reading Correcting COVID: District of Massachusetts Denies Correction Officers’ and Union’s Request for Injunctive Relief against Massachusetts’ Vaccine Mandate

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington recently denied a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in a pending challenge to Washington’s COVD-19 vaccine mandates, Wise v. Inslee, No. 2:21-CV-0288-TOR, 2021 WL 4951571, at *7 (D. Wa. Oct. 25, 2021). (A copy of the Court’s order can be accessed here.)
Case Background
The Wise plaintiffs are challenging Governor Jay Inslee’s series of proclamations that mandate COVID-19 vaccination for educators, health care workers, and various state employees and contractors except for those who may be entitled to an accommodation under the Americans with
Continue Reading Eastern District of Washington Finds COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Reasonable

On October 21, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina denied plaintiffs’ requests for a temporary restraining order against various municipal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Bauer v. Summey, No. 2:21-CV-02952-DCN, 2021 WL 4900922, at *1 (D.S.C. Oct. 21, 2021). The district court’s opinion is available here.
Case Background
In September 2021, the City of North Charleston, the City of Charleston, the County of Charleston, and the St. John Fire District announced personnel policies that required their employees and affiliated personnel be fully vaccinated. Id. at *1-2. Each of the respective policies provided a process for requesting
Continue Reading No Southern Hospitality: The District of South Carolina Denies Plaintiffs’ Requests to Enjoin Local Governments’ Vaccine Mandates

In December 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its “Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part I: Chrysotile Asbestos” (“Report”). The EPA concluded that chrysotile asbestos presents an “unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.” (see Report, pg. 229).  The Report addresses two common uses of chrysotile: (1) removing and replacing sheet gaskets, and (2) removing and replacing brake linings.
On its face, the report seems difficult to navigate. However, a closer look raises challenges to both the science of the report and how its information could be used by defense if a plaintiff relies on it.
Continue Reading Challenging the Science Behind EPA’s Risk Evaluation for Chrysotile Asbestos

On October 19, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon denied plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order against Oregon’s COVD-19 vaccine mandates. Williams v. Brown, No. 6:21-CV-01332-AA, 2021 WL 4894264, at *1 (D. Or. Oct. 19, 2021). (The district court’s opinion is available here.) The day before, another Court in the district denied a similar request for injunctive relief. Johnson v. Brown, No. 3:21-CV-1494-SI, 2021 WL 4846060, at *1 (D. Or. Oct. 18, 2021).  (That opinion is available here.)
Case Background
On August 13, 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order
Continue Reading Not Ducking the Issue: The District of Oregon Denies Requests to Enjoin State’s Vaccine Mandates

On October 19, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the denial of a motion for preliminary injunction that sought to prevent enforcement of Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.  Does 1-6 v. Mills, No. 21-1826, 2021 WL 4860328, at *1 (1st Cir. Oct. 19, 2021).  The First Circuit opinion is available here.

The state of Maine has long required that healthcare workers be vaccinated against infectious diseases.  Id.  And in doing so, Maine “has not allowed religious or philosophical exemptions to any of its vaccination requirements since an amendment to state law in May 2019 (which
Continue Reading First Circuit Affirms Maine’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate