A Sampling Of Our Prior Workers’ Compensation Victories
2019 was another busy year for Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld. We had the good fortune of representing many hardworking Oregonians who unfortunately were hurt on the job and ran into resistance from their workers compensation insurance carrier.
We represented a teacher and wrestling coach at an Oregon high school who developed a stroke after wrestling with the students. His claim was denied and after a long hearing the Judge found in our favor. That worker is now receiving all of his workers’ compensation benefits.
We handled a case for a Department of Transportation employee in Eastern Oregon, who was in a serious accident and diagnosed with a brain injury and PTSD. The insurance company did not want to accept either of these conditions and after litigating the case, we were able to come to a favorable settlement for that worker.
We represented a worker at a cookie factory in the Willamette valley who sustained a ligament tear to her wrist after lifting a heavy tray. Her claim was denied as well. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld obtained medical evidence from her doctors to favorably resolve that claim.
We represented a truck driver he sustained a torn ligament and after surgery, five years later, developed a varus deformity on the foot. The insurer fought the claim hard and denied the surgery the worker needed to correct his foot. We prevailed over the denial allowing the workers to obtain his benefits, including the surgery.
We continue to represent workers’ against some of the biggest companies in the Northwest, including Portland General Electric, Multnomah County, Nike, United Airlines, U.S. Bank, and the State of Oregon.
We represented an apparel designer for Nike who fell on her way to the parking lot after a long day of work. That worker sustained a concussion and brain injury. Nike denied that claim. We requested a hearing and before the hearing began, Nike gave up and agreed she did sustain a concussion. That worker is currently receiving all of her workers’ compensation benefits.
We represented a worker who developed a lung condition after being exposed to plastic fumes at a local sneaker production plant. Her claim was denied. We took the case to hearing and won her workers’ compensation benefits.
We prevailed on a case against PGE for a worker who developed carpal tunnel syndrome. We won a case against Multnomah County representing a dental assistant who developed carpal tunnel due to repetitive activities. We represented several hair dressers who developed carpal tunnel from their repetitive duties. We represented a bakery worker who developed an overuse syndrome in the shoulder and arm due to repetitive tail off activities at the bakery.
We won the case of several orchard workers in the Columbia Gorge, one involving knee injuries after falling off a tractor, and another who had a shoulder injury after falling out of a cherry tree. Both claims were denied, but we appealed the denials and won the case.
We represented a machinist who had worked at a tool company for over 20 years. The machines he worked on required intensive screwing, unscrewing and turning of knobs. Over the years he developed arthritis in both of his thumb joints. The insurance company denied his claim, arguing that his bilateral thumb arthritis was genetic and not work-related. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld was able to garner persuasive medical evidence from his doctors and ultimately prevail on the case. As a result, the machinist received all of his time loss; all of his medical bills paid, and received a disability award from workers’ comp. He was able to successfully return to his job after the thumb surgery.
We represented a legal assistant at a District Attorney’s office who developed carpal tunnel from keyboard use. The insurance company originally denied her claim, arguing that, because she was in her fifties, she was just old and that’s why she developed the problem. We won the case and the insurance company was forced to pay for her carpel tunnel surgery.
We represented an assistant of a private law firm who also had her claim in the same way. We won her case too. Over the last year, we’ve probably represented at least 10-20 different workers in carpal tunnel claims. Their jobs ranged from computer-based, parts inventorying at an auto parts store, insurance company jobs, small-parts mechanic, and other employees who perform repetitive movement with their hands and wrists. The insurance company has routinely denied these claims and Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld routinely wins these cases.
We represented a school teacher from the Portland Public Schools, who unfortunately fell at work and sustained a concussion and post-concussive syndrome. The insurance company initially denied her claim arguing that because she did not hit her head she could not have sustained a concussion. We were able to win that case. The consensus of current medical literature is that you do not need to actually hit your head in order to sustain a concussion. A significant whiplash movement is enough to sustain a concussion. We were able to prevail on that school teacher’s case. She received the treatment she needed and was able to return to her grade school class.
We represented several workers from the City of Portland. One was a parking meter attendant. She developed a right shoulder problem as a result of the incorrect ergonomic set up of her meter reader cart. The City denied her case arguing about her old age, a favorite reason insurance companies deny workers’ claims. We won her case. Once we had her case accepted, the City did not want her to return to her job. They argued that she could not perform all the work required in her regular job. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld invoked the Americans with Disabilities Act and was able to put pressure on the City to take her back. Ultimately that worker was able to return to her job with the city of Portland. She therefore continued with a good-paying job, and most importantly, retained her benefits, including employer-sponsored health insurance and 401K.
We represented a maintenance worker from the City. This individual used jackhammers, shovels and other heavy equipment to dig up the streets of the Rose City. He also used machines that put the stripes on the streets and crosswalks. Its hard work. Over the years, this created great wear and tear on his shoulders, and he developed shoulder tendonitis and tears in his shoulders. He needed surgery. The City denied his claim arguing that he developed these problems simply because he was old and did work on his 2-acre property outside of Sandy. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld, P.C., was able to establish that it was not his age or mowing his grass that caused his problems, but his 25+ years of performing this vigorous physical work at shoulder level or even above.
We represented a 70-year-old gentleman who was a maintenance worker at a hotel near Mt. Hood. He fell off an eight-foot ladder at work onto his shoulder. The medical providers originally focused on his shoulder. It was months later when they determined that he in fact had injured his neck and needed neck surgery as a result of the fall. Because the doctor did not make the neck diagnosis right away, the insurance company jumped all over that and denied his claim. After a lengthy hearing, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld was able to prevail on the case. The worker was able to receive his timeloss, as well as all the medical bills paid for his surgery. He is currently recovering and hopes to return back to work.
We represented an employee of a departmental store who’s job was to primarily stock the shelves. When stocking the shelves, the worker squatted down or leaned on his knee. Over a period of seven years, this created a problem with his medial meniscus of his knee. He had a tear in his knee, and he needed surgery. The insurance company denied his claim. They argued that his condition simply arose independent of his work activities. Our office was able to generate medical evidence to establish that was not true and that in fact his work was the major cause of the development of his meniscal tear. We won the case. The insurance company appealed and we won on appeal. He will be scheduling his surgery soon and his workers’ compensation insurance will now need to pay for it.
We represented a worker in the fish department at a local grocery store. Her job involved picking up large frozen fish. On one occasion she performed this maneuver and felt a pop in her shoulder. The insurance company denied her claim originally arguing that because she had hurt her shoulder many years before, that her current shoulder problem was probably just an exacerbation of her old problem. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld, P.C., took her case to court and the insurance company gave up before the hearing even started.
Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld created new law in Oregon this year regarding a timeloss case and Managed Care Organizations (MCO). Prior to this case, the law was that if a worker had their claim denied and was in an MCO, but saw a doctor outside the MCO, if they ultimately won the case later the insurance company would have to pay the medical provider, but would not pay the worker timeloss because the doctor was not part of the MCO. This, of course, creates a ridiculous result of the doctor being paid, but the timeloss that the doctor ordered not be paid to the worker. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld was able to convince the Workers’ Compensation Board that this was a bad result for workers and was not consistent with the statute. The Workers’ Compensation Board reversed long-standing case law on this issue, allowing the worker to get his timeloss.
These are just some of the many cases our firm has handled over the last year. We’ve been helping people every day, well before 2014:
In 2010, Mr. Schoenfeld helped a long-time bakery worker secure a settlement of $175,000 for an injured bakery worker from the insurer. The worker had undergone three low back surgeries. Mr. Schoenfeld argued that as a result of those surgeries, the injured worker was permanently and totally disabled. The insurance company fought back hard, but ultimately justice prevailed and the injured worker received his fair compensation for his future lost earnings. He retained his life-long medical benefits.
In another case, a construction worker sustained an injury to his mid-back. Again, Mr. Schoenfeld argued that worker was permanently and totally disabled, which resulted in a $210,000 settlement where the worker still retained his medical benefits.
In another case, Steven represented an injured cafeteria worker. The worker had undergone two shoulder surgeries and her shoulder did not allow her to work in any full time capacity. The insurance company insisted she could return to work. However, Steven retained a vocational expert which helped drive the case toward a settlement on the basis that the injured worker was permanently and totally disabled. That settlement was for over $150,000 dollars.
Steven has been involved in many repetitive motion strain injury cases. Recently he represented a worker from Hood River. This worker developed carpal tunnel syndrome in his nondominant left hand as a result of repetitive mouse use. The insurance company hired many experts who blamed the injured worker’s problem on his weight (he wasn’t even over weight), his age of 47 and other idiopathic factors. The judge found in the injured worker’s favor. Another victory for Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld.
Similarly, Steven recently represented a worker who was employed as a meat cutter for 20 years. The insurance company denied his carpal tunnel syndrome case. Steven got involved in the case, solicited several medical reports from the injured worker’s doctors, and before we even had to have a hearing, the insurance company caved and agreed that the carpal tunnel syndrome was work-related.
Steven recently represented an electrical engineer who developed carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive typing by preparing various engineering reports. Again, before the hearing was held, the insurance company simply gave up and rescinded their denial, accepting the claim.
More recently, in June 2011, Steven prevailed on a case involving the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. His client worked in a psychiatric ward for violent patients. Over a series of many years, he was attacked multiple times. As a result of this, he developed post-traumatic stress disorder. The insurance company fought back hard on the case, attempting to blame the development of his post-traumatic stress disorder on childhood issues such as divorce, issues with parents and siblings. The judge didn’t buy it and claimant prevailed on his case. Post-traumatic stress disorder is not easy to win, but Steven has won many of them.
We represented a 50-year-old carpet layer from Tygh Valley, Oregon. He had been a carpet layer for 35 years. Steven Schoenfeld was able to establish that years of carrying heavy rolls of vinyl and carpeting caused the arthritic changes in his low back. SAIF Corporation fought the claim hard, but Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld prevailed.
We continue to represent many workers who have denied workers’ compensation claims in 2012. We successfully litigated a claim for a woman from Cuba, who was working with Goodwill and developed carpal tunnel as a result of the repetitive activities involved in use of the price gun. We represented an administrator of Blue Cross Blue Shield who after 20+ years in the job developed carpal tunnel from repetitive keyboard use. As is usually the case, the insurer denied the claim, arguing that our client’s weight and female gender were the more important causes of why she developed carpal tunnel syndrome. After litigating the case, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld prevailed on behalf of the injured worker. Similarly, this year we represented a computer analysis who uses a keyboard constantly for writing code. She developed carpal tunnel which the insurance company denied. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld won after litigating the case. We have represented grocery workers from Safeway, a cake decorator from Hood River, both of whom had denied workers’ compensation claims. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld prevailed, establishing that the work activities were the major cause of why they developed carpal tunnel, not their “personal factors” as the insurance-hired doctors normally conclude.
We also represented a 60-year old worker of Kraft Foods. She had worked on the cookie line for over 30 years and developed shoulder tendonitis. After a long hearing, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld prevailed on behalf of that worker.
Over the past year, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld settled several large workers’ compensation claims. One involved a nurse who injured her back at work. After two back surgeries, it was unclear whether she would be able to return to the work force. Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld settled her case for over $100,000 dollars. We also recently settled a case of a 58-year-old hospital worker at a local hospital. She had hit her head on a piece of medical equipment and developed a concussion. The insurance company argued that the injury was superficial. Steven Schoenfeld argued that she had a permanent injury and was unable to work. That case was settled for over $75,000. Also, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld negotiated the largest workers’ compensation claim settlement ever with a local school district. A teacher had fallen and sustained serious injury. After litigation and negotiation, Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld was able to settle the case for over $200,000 dollars.
This represents a small sampling of the work we do everyday of behalf of the hard working people of the state of Oregon. It is our pleasure to continue to zealously represent the injured workers of our great state. We will continue to make sure their voices are heard and their rights are protected.