Saturday, May 31, 2008

Oversupply of Lawyers? This Recent Grad Would Say Yes!

A recent law graduate wrote to the Washington Post about a frustrating and unsuccessful search for a first job.

"I'm growing desperate,” the job seeker wrote. “I've sent out 330 résumés to the Hill, feds, nonprofits, trade associations, campaigns and law firms. I've even applied for bartending and waiting tables, only to be told I'm overqualified. What do I do?”

Career Tracks columnist Mary Ellen Slayter suggested the law grad needs to “think quality, not quantity” and focus on networking through professional associations or a school alumni group.

“Completing a single federal job application can take a full week, so I have a hard time believing you're putting the right level of effort behind pursuing jobs at carefully selected employers,” Slayter said.

Above the Law posted the exchange and offered its own comments, saying it wasn’t terribly impressed by Slayter’s advice. On the other hand, the blog said, it can’t think of better suggestions in what is shaping up to be a “grim” job market.

Some of the blog’s readers suggested seeking a contract job doing document review, applying for jobs in other geographic areas, and volunteering to work for a judge.

Summer Job Season is Upon Us: A Time for Teens To Be Careful

In a few weeks, millions of teens will be joining the work force, many for the first time. For most, nothing out of the ordinary will occur, but for about 70, their jobs will be lethal. About every three minutes, a teen is injured on the job. Worksafe BC has compiled the true stories of four ordinary kids whose first jobs proved devastating. In this series of short, compelling video clips, each teen tells the story of their injury, how it happened, and how it has affected their lives. The teens' parents also talk about things from their perspective. The clips are graphic, frightening, and real, and demonstrate just how quickly something can go wrong. They should be mandatory viewing for employers who hire teens, for teen workers, and for parents of working teens.

John's story - how 16-year old John Higgins broke his back in a forklift accident.
Jennifer's story - how 19-year old Jennifer Fourchalk lost three fingers, which were caught in dough-making equipment in a pizzeria.
Michael's story - how 18-year old Michael Lovett lost a leg when sucked into machinery in a sawmill.
Nick's story - (raw language alert) - how 19-year old Nick Perry became paralyzed when crushed by lumber in a lumberyard.

Some of the common themes in the stories:

* Enthusiasm. These kids badly wanted to please and impress bosses and co-workers and to do a good job. The teens didn't want to ask for help or to appear unwilling to do what was asked of them - they wanted to be mature and good work contributors.
* Inexperience. The teens seemed unaware of the power of equipment they were using and the potential for injuries. Jennifer didn't realize how powerful the kitchen equipment was. Michael seemed unaware that he could refuse to engage in unsafe behaviors, like jumping off dangerous equipment. They appear to assume that dangers were just an inevitable condition of the work.
* Lack of training. None of these teens had been properly trained in the equipment they were using nor had they received basic safety practices and procedures, such as lock out/tag out. All of these injuries might have been prevented had the workers been trained and had machine safeguards been in place. John actually emulated unsafe practices he had observed other workers doing.
* Working alone. In most of these examples, the teens were not being supervised when the injuries occurred.
* Regretful parents. Parents assumed employers would look out for their kids. Several parents expressed initial misgivings about the jobs their kids had taken. Many expressed regret that they hadn't looked into the work conditions more.

New Faces Continue as Two New Commsioners Join Our Ranks

The Connecticut Worker's Compensation Commission has recently welcomed its two newest members to its ranks. Commissioners Daniel Dilzer and David Schoolcraft have begun work recently and are presently in training to preside over dockets of their own. Both Commissioners come from extensive hands on practice experience including worker's compensation and I am sure they will both make fine additions to the Commission. We wish them well as they begin their new adventure.

The Worker's Comp Commission press release on its newest members may be read here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

State's Medicaid Lien Rights Remain Sacred in Upcoming Supreme Court Decision

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held, in a case being released later this week, that the lien rights that the State of Connecticut can assert against the proceeds of a personal injury or worker's compensation case remain a formidable force to be reckoned with. In State vs. Peters The Court has concluded that the State of Connecticut has no obligation to itself pursue an action against a tortfeasor to recover Medicaid sums paid to or on behalf of a recipient injured as a result of that tortfeasor's wrongdoing. The Court has further concluded that it would be improper to reduce the state's lien in a proportionate amount equal to the attorneys' fees paid by the Medicaid recipient.

While this may sound confusing, what it all means, in a nutshell, is that the State's lien against one's PI or WC case, needs to be addressed in the same fashion as we have been doing for some time.

If you have been injured on the job or through the fault of another, and you are a recipient of benefits from the State of Connecticut, then be well aware that the State has a lien on the proceeds of your case to get it's money paid to you back. There is a formula they must follow as set out by Statute and we as your lawyers will do our utmost to maximize your recovery in these situations. If we may be of service, please feel free to call.

The entire Peters decision may be read here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No No For Lester

Props to Sox starter and cancer survivor Jon Lester for hurling the Bosox 18th no hitter this evening. A nicely done testament to the fact that even in the face of catastrophic injury or illness YOU CAN get back to your former self with hard work and determination. We can all take a lesson. Nice job, Jon.

Full story here.

WC Mileage Reimbursement Rate Rises to 50.5 cents

The mileage reimbursement rate for all travel expenses incurred on or after March 19, 2008 is now 50.5 cents per mile. This rate increase applies to all claimants, regardless of injury date, and coincides with the federal mileage reimbursement rate pursuant to Section 31-312(a) of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Our Worker's Comp Commission has published a helpful compendium of reimbursement rates throght time and may be viewed here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

3.4 Million verdict overturned as Supreme Court decision addresses construction accident issues

The Connecticut Supreme Court will be releasing a decision of the 20th of this month in the case of Archembault vs. Soneco/Northeastern, Inc., et al, This decision, which revolves around a construction accident in which an employee of Soneco is seriously injured in a trench collapse, speaks to the duties of the general contractor on a job site to provide a safe work enviornment. The Court has determined that that the trial court's instruction to the jury that the general contractor on a job site has a non-delegable duty to provide a safe work site was erroneous and has ordered a new trial overturning the jury's 3.4 million dollar award. There are many nuances regarding the interplay between a GC and a subcontractor on a construction project. We will study this decision and determine a course of action so as to best represent our clients in these relatively common scenarios.

The decision may be read in its entirety here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Law Library Now Offering RSS Live feed

The Connecticut Law Libraries are now offering a tremendous resource to attorneys and the public alike in the form of their newly redesigned Newslog. The Newslog provides up-to-the-minute information on the latest Connecticut Supreme Court decisions, neatly indexed by category for your researching and browsing pleasure. The Newslog can be accessed here and is well worth a look. It is available as a live RSS feed for those so inclined.