Monthly Archives: September 2013

Madison Square Garden Intern Lawsuit Could Create Disastrous Precedent For Workers

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from

The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden (MSG), has become the latest company to be targeted in a class action by former interns claiming they were wrongly classified to avoid being paid.

The lawsuit, which is estimated to include a class of more than 500 individuals, claims that MSG used titles such as “intern” or “student associate” when hiring college students to do work which would otherwise qualify them as employees. Interns were asked to work as many as five days a week, where they helped support MSG ticket and sponsorship sales, administrative projects and logistics pertaining to the organization of sports and entertainment events at the arena. The suit is seeking damages to cover unpaid wages for misclassified workers stemming back to 2007.

View of Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

According to the complaint, “Defendants did not provide any compensation to… members of the putative class for the hours worked… [and] would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had… members of the putative class not performed work for the defendants.”

The MSG lawsuit comes on the heels of several suits being brought against major entertainment, fashion and media companies for similar unfair labor practices concerning the hiring of interns. Among those entities being sued include Gawker Media LLC,  Columbia Recordings Corp, and NBCUniversal and its famous Saturday Night Live program. Former…

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Falling mannequin severely injured Somerville woman at Bridgewater mall, lawsuit says

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from

A Somerville woman alleges that she was severely injured when a mannequin fell on her in December 2011 at the Bloomingdale’s store in the Bridgewater Commons mall. The file photo above shows a mannequin inside a store at a mall in Queens, N.Y.Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg 

BRIDGEWATER — A Somerville woman claims in a lawsuit that she was injured when a mannequin fell on her in the Bloomingdale’s at Bridgewater Commons mall.

Maria Hupalo and her husband, Roman, are suing Bloomingdale’s Inc. and its parent company, Macy’s Corporate Services Inc., for negligence in allegedly causing the Dec. 9, 2011, incident, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Superior Court.

Hupalo alleges she suffered “traumatic injuries” when the mannequin fell on her, the lawsuit states.

Due to the defendants’ negligence, Hupalo sustained “severe, painful, and permanent injuries that required medical care and incurred substantial expenses for doctors bills, medications, and the like in an effort to effect a cure and remedy for her condition,” the lawsuit states.

The couple claims the defendants “were careless, reckless and negligent in their construction, design and maintenance of the Premises,” the lawsuit states.

Macy’s spokesperson Elina Kazan said it is corporate policy to not comment on pending litigation.

The complaint represents at least the second lawsuit filed recently in regard to an alleged injury in a Macy’s-owned…

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Senior Care Workers Are Victims of Wage Violations

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

I found a recent story from California very troubling. The nation’s largest assisted living company agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle claims for underpayment and mistreatment of the workers who take care of the elderly. Lack of proper overtime pay, lack of mandatory meal and rest periods, and improper payment of mandatory training are examples of the mistreatment. 

The victims were the least-paid workers who did the hardest physical labor, according to the story. These people who bathed, fed, and provided the most hands-on care for our frail, elderly loved ones were denied wages and overtime pay for 7 years, according to the terms of the settlement.

Care for the old, frail and disabled is big business. Nearly 750,000 people are receiving assisted living care, according to the ProPublica article. And the industry is just going to expand, as folks are sicker but have higher expectations for care, while also living longer, according to this article from NPR

Fair treatment of our elders’ caregivers is essential. The wages are low, as most difficult jobs often are. Violating employment rules and statutes for businesses to save money and make larger profits seems particularly offensive for these workers. And they are not often protected from or informed of the hazards of their jobs, many of which can have serious consequences for workers’ health and well being, according to these blog posts from respected colleague Jon Gelman, an attorney in New Jersey: Protecting Healthcare Workers is a Goal of NIOSH and NIOSH Acts To Prevent Lifting Injuries For Home Healthcare Workers.

Congratulations to the workers and their representative who stood up to this very large employer that has around 500 facilities in the United States. It takes courage and tenacity to fight battles like this.

All of us who care about workers need to be aware that these are battle worth fighting. And that these battles can be won.

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Feds add prostate cancer to list of 9/11 health-related conditions

Today’s post was reported by the New York Daily News. We are commited to bringing you up-to-date news on the Zadroga Bill and how those injured as a result of the September 11th attacks can find help.


Prostate cancer has been added to the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services added the cancer to its register Thursday after being petitioned by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the city police officers union.

The union cited a scientific study that found a 17% greater than expected rate of prostate cancer among first responders.

The addition will cost the WTC Health Program an estimated $3 million to $6 million a year.

“It’s a minor victory for the 9/11 community and a huge victory for those with prostate cancer,” said John Feal, who advocated for the Zadroga 9/11 health bill, named for NYPD officer James Zadroga, who died of respiratory problems following his rescue efforts at Ground Zero. Corinne Lestch

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Mets’ Harvey Is Covered Like Any Other Employee With a Workplace Injury

For all of the Mets fans out there, we wanted to share this interesting development, originally reported by The New York Times

Matt HarveyIf Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, it will be paid for, partly, with workers’ compensation insurance. A partly torn ulnar collateral ligament like Harvey’s is considered a workplace injury, just as if he were a truck driver hurt on a loading dock.

The basic agreement between major league owners and players requires that teams pay the cost of injuries.

“The employer gets to recover, as an offset, any workers’ compensation recovery that is available,” said Rob Manfred, an executive vice president of Major League Baseball. “And the club is on the hook for what workers’ compensation doesn’t pay.”

At some point after an operation or procedure, a player signs a form that allows his team to pursue the insurance claim. So if workers’ compensation did not pay the full cost of Derek Jeter’s surgery for a fractured left ankle last year, the Yankees made up the difference — essentially the cost of doing business.

“The player never sees a bill,” Manfred said.

Another factor is that the cost of Tommy John surgery is not uniform. Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, might charge more than the Hospital for Special Surgery, where the Mets’ medical director, David Altchek, is an orthopedic surgeon. (Andrews prescribed a six- to eight-week rehabilitation program for Harvey earlier this week that would precede any decision to operate.)


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Careful What You Wish For: Denying Worker’s Compensation for Undocumented Workers

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.

Immigration reform is a continual and vexing issue in Washington. While politicians, lobbyists, and service organizations grapple with potential resolutions, there is no disputing the existence of illegal immigrants working for employers in our country. And when there are employees working, work injuries happen.  This may be especially true with the undocumented population who may be more susceptible to significant injuries because many perform more dangerous or hazardous jobs that other may not accept. For further information, see Do Immigrants Work in Riskier Jobs? and the CDC’s report on work-related injury deaths among Hispanics.

…excluding illegal immigrants from worker’s compensation coverage could create a financial incentive for employers to keep hiring illegal immigrants.

When injured, are these undocumented workers eligible for worker’s compensation? Some harshly argue that these workers should receive no benefits, as they are not working legally in the country. However, one of the underlying pillars of worker’s compensation is that the expense of workplace injuries (covered by insurance) should be placed on the employers who profit from the workers’ labors. Additionally, excluding illegal immigrants from worker’s compensation coverage could create a financial incentive for employers to keep hiring illegal immigrants—a practice that is against federal law. 

The worker’s compensation laws in our country do not have a definitive answer to this question—though the trend is toward coverage of undocumented workers. Many states do Continue reading

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Depositions: When the truth is “I don’t know”

Today’s post comes from guest author Brianne Rohner, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

“Tell the truth” is some good advice we’ve all heard and hopefully listened to once in a while. However, when it comes to having your deposition taken, this advice can take on a slightly different meaning. Our experienced attorneys guide hundreds of clients through depositions each year, so we often see this challenge.   

It is human nature to seek answers to our questions. But sometimes in our quest for satisfaction, we have a hard time resisting the urge to make a leap or two, or start to speculate, or make assumptions about potential solutions. This is particularly true when we are faced with a formal line of questions such as those asked in a deposition. We feel guilty and lacking somehow if we don’t know the answer to a question, or we can’t remember a name or date or what happened between the blow to the head and waking up in the hospital. … It gives us a good feeling inside and relieves a little pressure to at least try to put the puzzle pieces together for the person asking the question. We’re nervous, and it just goes against our helpful natures to simply say “I don’t know.” 

Sometimes, though, this very human trait can lead to problems for a case. At some point in the midst of these leaps in logic and speculation on answers to questions, our answer can transform into something that is no longer the truth. While speculating or thinking out loud isn’t lying, when you get down to it, it isn’t really telling the truth either. Sometimes the absolute, 100% honest-to-goodness truth is simply, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember,” and that is a perfectly okay answer to give. When your words have the power to potentially damage your case, it is important to choose them wisely, and remember you do not need to give in to the pressure of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions to come up with a satisfactory answer. Just tell the truth.

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Good News for American Workers

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

I read an encouraging article  in The Washington Post: “A return to ‘Made in America’? Is U.S. manufacturing making a comeback — or is it just hype?” 

Everyone concerned with the plight of American workers should read the article. Manufacturing does seem to be growing once again in the USA. The article points out several reasons for this trend, including the increasing cost of Chinese manufacturing and increased American productivity. The news is not great, because many, if not most, of the new manufacturing jobs pay less than the jobs we lost. However, the jobs seem to be coming back.

I grew up in a tiny little factory town that proudly made Vise-Grip wrenches. The family-owned company supported generations of families, provided summer jobs for college kids, and taught us what work meant. (My introduction to workers’ compensation came at age 18 with an industrial injury.) However, the plant was sold and resold and resold until it was finally uprooted and sent to China. My hometown, like so many others was devastated.

A Bruce Springsteen song, “My Hometown,” brings tears to my eyes when I recall what happened to my hometown. These lyrics are particulary haunting: 

“Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there aint nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they aint coming back to
Your hometown, your hometown, your hometown, your hometown”

Hopefully the mythical foreman had it wrong and the jobs are starting to come back to our hometowns! Keep on buying American, folks.

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