Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This past Tuesday, July 6, 2010, was a significant day for the rights of injured workers and a blow to the entities that lobbied for more benefit cuts and the creation of an atmosphere that fosters the denial of claims without adequate investigation and without regard for the consequensces.

In the case of Wendy Larson v. Kraft Foods, circuit court Miami-Dade Co. Senior Judge Michael Genden, the Kraft folks paid over 2 million dollars for a general release of all claims from their employee plaintiff. All medical liens for approx.$250,000.00 in care provided by the group insurer were also waived. In addition, Plaintiff collected 6 months of Short Term disability benefits.

Had plaintiff's workers' compensation claim been investigated, the claim might have been accepted based upon repetitive trauma causing a cervical disk and bi-lateral thoracic outlet syndrome. Medical would have been less costly and the comp case for settlement purposes would have been worth 300k or less. There would have been a SSDI offset. The employer and carrier preferred to initially shift the cost to the STD carrier and the group carrier whose premiums had already been paid raither than accept the cost as WC and pay off the bottom line. The Employer likely was self insured for WC or had a large deductable. So WC benefits would come off the net profits.

So when the Notice of Denial came in asserting that the accident did not arise out of the employment, I dismissed the PFB I had filed and sued in circuit court alleging ordinary negligence and failure of the master to fulfill the obligations of the master to the servant.

The bottom line became over 2 million dollars poorer when Kraft upped the offer just before jury selection was to begin. A lot of credit should go to Attorneys Mark Poses and Jeffrey Hirsh, my co-counsel. They prepared a magnificent case for trial.