For the last 10 years, Mr. Stephens has been helping Uranium and Nuclear Weapons workers and their survivors with their Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) and Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) claims. These are Federal Workers Compensation Programs related to the hazards associated with nuclear weapons manufacturing, and testing as well as uranium mining, processing and transportation. These nuclear weapons and uranium workers were exposed to radiation and other hazardous substances often without their knowledge or consent. The earliest occupational exposures were in the 1940s through the 1980s but in certain locations around the United States workers are exposed at work and diagnosed with cancers and other illnesses. While the employment and medical evidence necessary to prove these claims can become difficult to obtain as medical and employment records are lost or destroyed, these programs are not governed by the types of statutes of limitations that apply to state workers compensation or state law personal injury claims.
While Mr. Stephens handles initial claims, impairment and wage loss claims, objections to recommended decisions and reopenings of denied claims, he also litigates claims in federal court against the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Two such claims are currently pending. In Young v. HHS, petitioners are challenging the HHS decision not to assign radiation dose where that dose cannot be estimated with sufficient accuracy. Instead, a reasonable estimate should be assigned even where that estimate might not be particularly accurate, especially where the failure to make an estimate is much less accurate than a reasonable estimate. In Still v. DOL, petitioners are challenging NIOSH’s failure to assign neutron dose and its repudiation of OCAS-TIB-007, the relevant guidance document. Over the past 10 years, Mr. Stephens has assisted claimants in these programs as they obtained approximately $45 million in compensation.
Mr. Stephens also currently handles personal injury claims including a complex birth injury claim.
Mr. Stephens early environmental litigation experience involved primarily CERCLA cost recovery litigation in state and federal court on behalf of large corporations and groups of corporations.
SUMMARY OF REPRESENTATIVE CASES
EDUCATION: SUNY at Buffalo School of Law (J.D.) McGill University (B.A., English)
ADMISSIONS: United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit United States District Court, Western District of New York United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York New York State Courts
PRO HAC VICE ADMISSIONS: United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
- Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Litigation Under CERCLA, prepared for the Bar Association of Erie County, Environmental Law Committee CLE Seminar, May 8, 2009
- Overview and Update of CERCLA, prepared for the Bar Association of Erie County, Environmental Law Committee CLE Seminar, October 22, 2005
- Overview and Update of CERCLA, prepared for the Bar Association of Erie County, Environmental Law Committee CLE Seminar, February 10, 2001
ASSOCIATIONS: Past Chair and Member, Environmental Law Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County Member, American Bar Association Member, New York State Bar Association Member, Bar Association of Erie County Member, Air and Waste Management Association Member, Environmental Business Association of New York State