Appellate Court Decision in Matter of Prather
The Appellate Division has issued an important decision this week in the Matter of Prather.
The Court determined that the Workers Compensation Board erred by having one Workers
Compensation law judge preside over the trial of an issue, and another make the decision
where there was no reason stated for changing judges.
The impact of this decision is particularly important for the Staten Island hearing point
of the Workers Compensation Board that has seen many different judges passing through the
courtroom in Part 2 lately. It will be an important defense to raise where the 1st judge
defers to someone else to make the decision.
It is also another reason for the claimants to object to the recent efforts by the NYS
Workers Compensation Board to use videoconferencing rather than assign a judge to Part
2 in Staten Island. We will continue to encourage claimant’s to complain to the Board
about the Board’s new impersonal approach to their claim.
Regarding the teleconferencing judge issue, NYS Senator Andrew Lanza and NYS Assemblyman
Michael Cusick have jointly introduced legislation to prohibit the practice of
videoconferencing Judges, except in emergencies. The legislative bills are known as
Senate Bill 7116-A and Assembly Bill No 10119. The bill can be found at
http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S7116A-2011 I urge you to contact your
legislator to support these bills.
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For more insight and perspective into various workers’ compensation issues, please visit the
New York Workers Compensation Alliance Law Blog.