Papers & Publications
“True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exist, but what they mean.” – James Russell Lowell.
Our attorneys have written dozens of scholarly articles about workers’ compensation and personal injury. We have written articles to bring information to working people, to educate other lawyers, and to inform policy makers about issues in workers’ compensation system. Our deep knowledge and scholarship in our practice areas, combined with our half-century of experience in the field, helps us deliver real results for our clients.
Here are summaries of many of our papers and publications, with links to the full documents if you’d like to read more.
THE EXPERIENCE OF IMMIGRANTS AND LOW-WAGE WORKERS IN THE NEW YORK WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM
On June 2, 2020, partner Sanjai Doobay published an Op Ed in Newsday discussing what our state officials can do to help ensure that essential workers are not only applauded for what they do but that they are properly protected for doing so.
On May 14, 2020, the New York Law Journal published a Commentary by managing partner Robert Grey outlining how New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law could provide coverage for essential workers and others who developed COVID-19-related illness in the course of their work.
On April 17, 2020, managing partner Robert Grey published an Op Ed in the New York Daily News calling on New York State to immediately provide workers’ compensation coverage for healthcare workers and essential workers with COVID-19, instead of waiting for the potential creation of a federal fund.
Many unions deliver information to their members through the union newspaper or newsletter. In 2017 we wrote an article for the TWU Local 100 Health & Safety newsletter with a “top 10 list” of things injured workers should do in a workers’ compensation case.
In 2016 and 2017, business and insurance interests mounted a campaign to slash “schedule loss awards” – compensation paid to injured workers for permanent loss or loss of use of a limb (such as a hand, foot, arm, or hand). They claimed that these awards were a high cost to employers and insurance companies that had to be reined in. In response, we wrote a white paper outlining the trends in schedule loss costs over twenty-five years from 1992 through 2016. The paper showed that schedule loss awards were not an outsized cost to employers, and are instead fair compensation for injured workers.
In 2017, the Workers’ Compensation Board issued a proposal that would have sharply reduced “schedule loss awards” – compensation paid to injured workers for permanent loss or loss of use of a limb (such as a hand, foot, arm, or hand). The New York State Assembly Labor Committee held a public hearing to address the Board’s proposal. We submitted written testimony to the Assembly, and managing partner Robert Grey testified at the hearing in Albany (you can find the video on our Media page).
Too often, the conversation about workers’ compensation is more about what the injured worker receives in benefits than what he or she is losing while out of work. In early 2016, we looked at that issue and wrote a paper on the subject. Our paper showed that most workers lose significant income because of their injury and disability, which is never replaced by the workers’ compensation system.
In late 2016, we wrote Workers’ Compensation in New York State: State of the System 2016, the fourth White Paper in the series (following 2006, 2008 and 2014) and sixth overall (we wrote topic-specific white papers in 2010 and 2012). The 2016 White Paper reported that “workers face increasing obstacles in accessing benefits due to variety of Board procedures.” It also reported “that while the 2007 reform legislation increased temporary disability and schedule loss awards for high-wage workers, it did not do so for low-wage workers. The 2007 legislation also caused an unprecedented escalation in uncompensated wage loss for permanently disabled workers throughout the wage spectrum.”
In 2014, we wrote Workers’ Compensation in New York State: State of the System 2014. This was the third White Paper in the series (the earlier two were written in 2006 and 2008), in addition to our 2010 White Paper on loss of wage earning capacity for permanently disabled workers and our 2012 White Paper on system costs. The 2014 White Paper reviewed the current legislative, regulatory and administrative status of the workers’ compensation system and the impact on benefits for injured workers, costs for employers and administration by the state.
At the end of 2012, the Workers’ Compensation Board issued the New York State Guidelines for Determining Permanent Impairment and Loss of Wage Earning Capacity. Although the Board’s 2012 Guidelines largely adopted the Disability Duration Guidelines that had been proposed by the Insurance Department, they did not include meaningful guidance about how much weight should be assigned to an injured worker’s functional capacity or vocational factors. We wrote an article identifying the issues and making suggestions about a path the Board could follow to create a workable set of standards in deciding these issues. Our article was published by the Syracuse Law Review, a publication of the Syracuse University Law School.
In 2012, as business and insurance interests again tried to cut benefits for injured workers based on their claims about “the high cost of workers’ compensation,” we wrote a White Paper to talk about the facts. Our paper conclusively showed that workers’ compensation is not a high cost for employers, and that in fact employer costs were near a twenty-year low.
Many bar associations send monthly newsletters to their member attorneys with articles about important legal developments. In May of 2010 we wrote an article for the Suffolk Lawyer to educate personal injury attorneys about how changes in the Workers’ Compensation Law could create new liens affecting personal injury settlements and recoveries.
In 2010, the New York State Insurance Department issued a set of proposed “Disability Duration Guidelines” making suggestions about how the Workers’ Compensation Board should implement time limitations on permanent partial disability benefits (“the PPD caps”). On behalf of the Workers’ Compensation Alliance, the New York State AFL/CIO, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Western New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, we wrote and submitted a detailed analysis of the Insurance Department’s proposal.
In March of 2008, the New York State Insurance Department released a “data study” of the workers’ compensation system. The Insurance Department drew certain conclusions and made a number of recommendations about collecting additional information to guide public policy and legislation in the field. We reviewed the Insurance Department’s report and issued a set of comments to provide additional context about how the it would affect injured workers.
In December of 2008, we wrote the second in our series of White Papers about the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ Compensation in New York State: State of the System 2008 analyzed the changes that were made to the law in 2007 as well as the administrative changes that followed, with a focus on how they were affecting injured workers and would do so in the future.
In October, 2007 we published an article in the prestigious “Outside Counsel” column of the new York Law Journal discussing a new decision by the New York Court of Appeals that had an enormous impact on the relationship between workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury recoveries.
In May, 2007 we published an article in the prestigious “Outside Counsel” column of the New York Law Journal discussing how recent changes to the Workers’ Compensation Law would impact personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation liens.
In May, 2006 we published an article in the prestigious “Outside Counsel” column of the New York Law Journal covering the debate about how to “reform” the workers’ compensation system and making proposals about how to do so in a way that would be fair to injured workers.
In 2006, as the New York State Legislature was considering major changes to the law, we wrote Workers’ Compensation in New York State: State of the System 2006 to point out issues and areas where the system could be improved for injured workers and employers. The “2006 White Paper” helped persuade the Legislature to raise the maximum and minimum benefit rates for injured workers and to make a number of other healthy changes in the system. It also become the first in a series of White Papers that have continued to influence the system for more than a decade.
We often publish articles in bar association journals to provide information to other lawyers. In 2006 we wrote an article for the Women’s Bar Association discussing issues a personal injury lawyer must consider when settling a case for a client who also has a workers’ compensation claim.
In November, 2001 we published an article in the prestigious “Outside Counsel” column of the New York Law Journal discussing the potential workers’ compensation claims that might arise out of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The article identified cases that would clearly be covered, those that would clearly not be covered, and those that would present future problems. Five years later, the Legislature amended the Workers’ Compensation Law to add Article 8-a, providing coverage for World Trade Center responders and resolving some of the issues we identified immediately after the attack.
In 1998, we won a major case at the New York Court of Appeals that preserved and expanded how the Labor Law covers construction workers who are injured on job sites. We then wrote an article for the Nassau Lawyer explaining the decision and putting it into historical context for attorneys who practice in the field.
In December, 1997 we published an article in the prestigious “Outside Counsel” column of the New York Law Journal discussing the New York Court of Appeals ruling in Shutter v. Phillips Display Components, which held that a workers’ compensation insurer does not have a lien against an injured worker’s recovery from the uninsured or underinsured motorist provision of his or her own automobile insurance policy.
In 1994, due to a variety of court decisions and changes in the law, we published an article in the Journal of the Suffolk Academy of Law updating our 1989 article on the settlement of a lawsuit where the client also had a workers’ compensation case.
In 1989, we published an article in the Journal of the Suffolk Academy of Law providing guidance for personal injury attorneys about the requirements of settling a lawsuit for a client who also had a workers’ compensation case arising out of the same accident.