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Sowing seeds of federal trouble in state workers comp systems

Reviewing the American Association for Justice's 1st Quarter lobbying disclosure report -- $1.15 million! -- submitted last week, we spotted a bill AAJ has lobbied on that merited further exploration. In the category of LBR (Labor Issues/Antitrust/Workplace), the trial lawyers cite H.R. 635, to establish the National Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws.

Workers comp issues are always hot and heavy in the state courts and legislatures, but rarely does the issue surface in Congress. So what's this? In his news release announcing the bill's introduction, Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) said:

More than 35 years have passed since our government took a serious look at the effectiveness of workers' compensation laws. Access to proper benefits and medical care after on the job injuries is a right every American worker deserves. I am hopeful this legislation will bring us closer to updating and modernizing our state workers' compensation laws to ensure they remain effective in this new century.

One suspects "updating and modernizing" means different things to different constituencies, as in workers comp lawyers who might sense an opportunity for "updating and modernizing" their summer homes.

We note AAJ has a CLE session devoted to workers comp scheduled for its national convention this July in San Francisco. On the agenda:

  • How to Maximize Your Recovery - Andrew J. Reinhardt, VA
  • Direct Claims Against the Employer - Michael A. Galpern, NJ
  • Stress Claims - Deborah G. Kohl, MA

AAJ's quarterly report is accessible at the Senate's House's lobbying disclosure site here.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.