Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends of Stephens & Stephens, LLP:
We hope that you all have had a wonderful 2014! This year has been an exciting one for Stephens & Stephens, LLP. We have collected more than $3,500,000 for our EEOICPA and RECA claimants from around the country.
In February, at the suggestion of Franklin Gerlach, an attorney from Portsmith, Ohio, a group of advocates and attorneys formed the DEEOIC Interim Advisory Board (DIAB). The purpose of this Board was to monitor the Department of Labor’s implementation of the Energy Employees Occupation Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP), especially with respect to Part E claims and Part B claims for Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD), Beryllium Sensitivity, and Silicosis. Part B already has the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH), which among other functions, helps to address Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petitions under Part B.
Faye Vlieger was elected Chair of the Board and Terrie Barrie as Secretary. I was elected Vice-Chair after the generous nomination by Stephanie Carroll, who expertly handles Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) and other pulmonary claims from her office in Denver, Colorado.
The DIAB held outreach meetings in Denver, Colorado and Portsmith, Ohio, prepared a number of reports concerning the Site Exposure Matrix (SEM), and looked at hearing loss as well as Parkinson’s disease. Through the efforts of Terrie Barrie of the Alliance of Nuclear Weapons Advocates Group (ANWAG) and Deb Jerison of the Energy Employee Claimant Assistance Project (EECAP), the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains the defense authorization for fiscal year 2015, included language that created the Presidential Advisory Board for Part E of the EEOICPA. Thanks and congratulations to Terrie and all those who helped to make the new Advisory Board a reality. The last remaining obstacle to the new Board’s success is the appropriation of funds so that the Board can properly perform its functions.
In July of this year, we were successful in overturning a NIOSH dose reconstruction. We believe this represents one of only a handful of dose reconstructions that have been overturned for failure to properly apply the NIOSH method. When a claimant files a claim under the EEOICPA, the Department of Labor sends the claim to NIOSH to determine the Probability of Causation (POC), or the likelihood that the worker’s
cancer was caused by exposure to radiation during his or her employment at a covered facility. If NIOSH determines that the POC is at least 50%, or the cancer was at least as likely as not caused by the claimant’s exposure during employment, then the claimant is entitled to compensation under the EEOICPA. While the initial dose reconstruction did not result in compensation for our client, we were able to convince the Department of Labor to send the claim back to NIOSH for revised dose reconstruction and our client was compensated under Part B and Part E of the EEOICPA. We also successfully caused the Department of Labor to send another claim for a NIOSH rework. We hope to be able to report on that claimant’s success in the new year.
If you are interested in learning more about the EEOICPA, we have posted a number of video blogs explaining the EEOICPA to our website. Also, if you or someone you know is receiving workers’ compensation, social security disability, or any other benefits, please check out our blog to learn about how those benefits coordinate with the receipt of EEOICPA compensation. If you have specific questions related to the EEOICPA or RECA or if you would like me to give a presentation to your group, please call my cell phone any time at (716) 208-3525.
We hope that 2014 has treated you well and that you have a wonderful Holiday season. We look forward to bringing in the New Year and continuing to serve as advocates for you and with you.
Thank you for your time and Happy Holidays!
Stephens & Stephens, LLP
2495 Main Street, Suite 442
Buffalo, NY 14214
(T): (716) 852-7590
(C): (716) 208-3525