COURT OF APPEALS FINDS PROCEDURE OF WORKER’S COMPENSATION LAW WHICH PROVIDES DIFFERENT METHODS FOR PROVING BLACK LUNG DISEASE DERIVED FROM COAL THAN BY OTHER CAUSES, FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL

The Court of Appeals on Friday April 9, 2010 found one provision of the Worker’s Compensation act to be unconstitutional.  The following is a synopsis provided weekly by LawReader to subscribers

 (See LawReader case No. 16 at www.lawreader.com  membership required)

 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

 

GARDNER, JESSE  VS. 

VISION MINING, INC., ET AL.

 

 

TO BE PUBLISHED  KRS 342.316 / BLACK LUNG X-RAY PROVISION UNCONSTITUTIONAL – DUE PROCESS – STANDARDS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER CAUSES OF BLACK LUNG

KRS 342.316, which defines the procedure for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis claims (CWP), is unconstitutional in violation of his right to equal protection under the law.

 

Imposing more onerous procedural and substantive burdens on coal workers than on others fails the test of “reasonable and substantial difference in kind, situation or circumstance[.]” The legislation under review does indeed “arbitrarily designate the severed factions of the original unit as two classes[.]”

 

As there is no discernable difference between a claimant who has contracted pneumoconiosis through the inhalation of coal dust and one who has contracted the disease through the inhalation of another particulate, we see no rational basis or “substantial and justifiable reason” for imposing a different procedure and a higher burden on CWP claimants than on other occupational pneumoconiosis claimants

Comments are closed.