Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thomas Domer Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Injured Workers

Thomas Domer Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Jay Causey present Thomas Domer with the Lifetime Achievement Award

On October 12, 2012, Thomas Domer received the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG) annual convention.  This is no small honor.  The lifetime achievement award “is reserved for those individuals who have gone above and beyond the norm, and who continue to play a vital role in supporting WILG and advocating for the issues important to WILG’s mission,” which involves representing the interests of injured workers and their families.    

A dinner and award service occurred in Tom’s honor, and the WILG President, J.R. Boyd indicated that “Tom is a great advocate for injured workers, and has performed a Herculean task as co-editor of WILG’s Workers’ First Watch magazine, which continues to be THE best produced workers’ rights magazine in the country.”

As part of the ceremony, the co-editor of Wokers’ First Watch, Jay Causey from Washington, provided a moving and thoughtful introduction. Tom graciously accepted the award and spoke about his long-term commitment to workers and serving others.  It was a fantastic evening and a fitting and deserved tribute.

Join me in congratulating Tom in his career of achievements.

Voter Fraud Billboards (Hopefully) Coming Down

This misleading billboard is scheduled to be taken down.

In a follow-up to posts from last week, it looks like the “voter fraud” billboards are coming down in Milwaukee. It appears there were enough complaints about the actual intent of these billboards (voter suppression) to force them to come down. Unfortunately, who knows what effect the billboards had on the voting population while on display (note: as of last week, I noticed the billboards still up).

Defenders of the billboards counter that the display was just stating the facts. Voter fraud is a felony. That is true and undisputed. No one is disputing the law or the facts. The issue is the underlying intent. The facts have long-revealed that voter fraud is a virtual non-issue. This is a scare tactic to intimidate and, more significantly, to confuse voters (the billboards are meant to look intense). If they keep one voter from heading to the polls, they have (unfortunately) served their insidious purpose. Glad they are coming down.

Voter Fraud Paranoia – Separating Reality From Hype

Even though in-person voter fraud is extremely rare, paranoia about it has become widespread

This follows last week‘s post about voter suppression efforts in Milwaukee.

As we have (unfortunately) seen, voter suppression is alive and well. The following article from Mother Jones (Poll: Voter Fraud Paranoia Officially Bipartisan by Tim Murphy) is truly interesting. The author provided a great perspective on the large push for voter ID legislation in our country: “almost all of it geared at combatting the non-existent problem of in-person voter fraud (you have a greater chance of seeing a UFO).”

The more surprising aspect of this article is the concern for voter fraud in swing states (like Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina). Apparently, and despite the actual evidence, voters seem to believe that the other political party may engage in fraudulent tactics in the upcoming election. Sixty-eight percent of those identified as “very liberal” believe that GOP will commit voter fraud to help Mitt Romney. Likewise, sixty-three percent of those identified as “very conservative” believe that Democrats will commit voter fraud to help President Obama.

This level of paranoia is shocking. As with many things in modern American politics, the facts do not seem to matter.

An Outrageous Attempt To Suppress Voting In Milwaukee

A billboard in Milwaukee could lead to a lower turnout on election day.

I’ve noticed a number of billboards in my city that have gone up in recent weeks (please see the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story here: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/community-groups-object-to-voter-fraud-billboards-5077qis-174260461.html). These billboards state that “voter fraud is a felony,” and they appear to be “strategically” placed in certain neighborhoods.  My level of outrage and frustration increases with every single viewing of these misleading and outrageous billboards. 

First, I can’t believe that the person/family/corporation responsible for the billboards can’t own up to identifying who they are.  The ads are simply sponsored by a “private family foundation”—a great way to hide the true identity.  Also, the message is truly insidious, as the allegations of voter “fraud” are just a red herring.  The reality and intent of these billboards is for one purpose: voter suppression.  The goal is to create some unfounded fear to keep certain individuals from voting in the upcoming election.

One of the main tenets of a vibrant and representative democracy is the right to vote.  I am truly disheartened by the fact that certain people or political parties feel that their only route to winning an election is to suppress the vote. 

Drug Watch: Zimmer Knee Implants Plagued With Failure

Knee implants you thought would last decades may only last 3 years.

Today’s post comes from guest author Brenda Fulmer from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

Zimmer is an international medical device manufacturer based in northern Indiana. It was founded in 1927, and focuses on the manufacture of products for orthopaedic surgeries. Zimmer’s sales in 2009 were $1.76 billion, and it is estimated that the NexGen family of knee implants make up about 2% of the overall sales of Zimmer.

Flex implants are not lasting nearly as long as intended.

The Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant is not a specific device, but rather a family of devices. Within this NexGen device family, there are different models of implants: NexGen CR-Flex, NexGen LPS-Flex, NexGen High Flex, NexGen LPS, NexGen MIS.

Unlike most knee implants, the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex is attached without the use of cement, which may cause the system to loosen or detach completely.

The Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex implant was designed to give patients better range of motion than the customary NexGen device. Scientific studies have been accumulating for years with regard to concerns over the safety of the NexGen CR-Flex. Interestingly, the U.S. Continue reading

Important Changes Are Coming to Social Security in 2012

Today’s post comes from guest author John Anselmo from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

Changes to Social Security are coming in 2012. Beginning in the new year, the threshold (maximum amount) a disabled, non-blind, person can make per month to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits will increase from $1,000 per month to $1,010 per month. This cap is how the Social Security Administration defines Substantial Gainful Activity. One quarter of coverage is now $1,130, up from $1,120, and maximum taxable earnings have increased from $106,800 to $110,100. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will go up from $674 per month to $698 per month,  in step with the general 3.6% cost of living increase for all benefits. This amount does not include any State Supplement. For the complete report on 2012 Social Security Changes, check out this Fact Sheet. If you are wondering what the implications of these changes will be for you, learn more at SocialSecurity.gov, or contact your attorney.

Does A Pre-Existing Injury Mean I Can't File A Claim?

A preexisting injury does not stop a claim

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

The same rules hold true in Wisconsin. An employer takes an employee “as is”; if a work injury aggravates a pre-existing condition beyond its normal progression, a worker can bring a worker’s compensation claim.

QUESTION: I HAVE A PREEXISTING INJURY TO THE SAME BODY PART I HURT AT WORK. DOES THIS MEAN I CANNOT CLAIM WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS?

ANSWER: A PREEXISTING INJURY DOES NOT STOP A CLAIM.  FILE THAT CLAIM!    

Joe Worker was a high school quarterback.  Until that knee injury sidelined his dreams of playing for the NFL.  So he became one of the best construction workers New York City could ask for.  Until one day, on the job, Joe tripped over stuff somebody should have put away, and landed on that bad knee. Now, if his knee hadn’t been so screwed up in the first place, Joe would have been fine.  He would have dusted himself off and gone on with the day.  But the old injury flared up and Joe was sidelined again.  Joe didn’t know what to do.  It was, after all, his bad knee that made things worse, not a minor trip and fall on the job.  So he hesitated filing a new claim.  What should he do?

Continue reading

What’s so dangerous about hotel room cleaning? It turns out, a lot.

Today’s post comes from guest author Edgar Romano from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

Hotel housekeeping may not seem dangerous, but it can be grueling physical labor. A recent study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that tasks including dusting, vacuuming, changing linens, making beds, and scrubbing bathrooms may lead to a range of injuries. Some of the most common ones include: Continue reading