St. Louis Attorney David Hughes was a Recent Speaker Regarding Mesothelioma and Other Toxic Exposure Claims at the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation Educational Seminar on May 5, 2021

On May 5, 2021, Attorney David Hughes gave his claimant perspective on the most recent developments in Mesothelioma and other toxic exposure claims at the Annual Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation Educational Seminar. He discussed updates on the recent Hegger Case as well as many important issues that remain unanswered in prosecuting toxic exposure claims.

He participated in discussions with a defense attorney regarding Accident Fund Insurance Company; E. J. Cody Company v. E. Robert Casey, Employee/Delores Murphy – 550 S.W.3d 76 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 2018) and Vincent Hegger (deceased), et al. v. Valley Farm Dairy Company, et al., 596 S.W.3d 128 and Hayden v. Cut-Zaven, Ltd. and Papillion, Ltd., E.D. 108695 (Motion for Application to Transfer to Missouri Supreme Court was denied).

David’s Toxic Exposure & Workers’ Compensation in Missouri – The Claimant’s Perspective Presentation can be found here: Attorney David G. Hughes Mesothelioma & Asbestosis Presentation 5-2021

If you have been exposed to Asbestos while working in Missouri and have Mesothelioma or Asbestosis, call Attorney David Hughes at 314-241-4477.

Current Missouri Mesothelioma and Asbestosis Workers’ Compensation Law and Benefits – By Attorney David Hughes

On May 22, 2018, the Missouri Supreme Court en banc decided Accident Fund National Insurance Company; E. J. Cody Company, Inc. v. E. Robert Casey, Employee/Delores Murphy.  550 S.W.3d 76 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 2018).  The Supreme Court decided that because Mr. Casey’s exposure to asbestos occurred while he was employed by E. J. Cody Company, Inc., its insurer, Accident Fund National Insurance Company, was liable for benefits under Section 287.200.4, R.S.Mo. 2014.  Id. at 80.  The Supreme Court noted that the Missouri worker’s compensation law was amended in 2014 to provide enhanced compensation for individuals diagnosed with occupational disease such as mesothelioma, and that coverage is provided for “all claims filed on or after January 1, 2014, for occupational diseases due to toxic exposure which result in permanent total disability or death.”  Id.  The Court further held that Section 287.200 was constitutional as applied. Id. at 82.

In Vincent Hegger v. Valley Farm Dairy, decided by the Missouri Supreme Court on February 18, 2020, the Supreme Court affirmed the Labor Commission’s Decision and explained that employers who had elected to accept mesothelioma liability under R.S.Mo. 287.200.4 are not subject to civil liability for the occupational disease caused by toxic exposure.  No. SC97993, Pages 4-5.  The Supreme Court discussed that the difference between the Hegger and Casey cases was that in Casey, the employer was still in business when Casey filed his claim, and the employer was covered under a policy of insurance that included an endorsement entitled “Missouri Notification of Additional Mesothelioma Benefits.” Id. at 7.

Hayden v. Cut-Zaven was decided by the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District on September 22, 2020.  No. ED108695.  The Eastern District held that the claimant must produce evidence establishing a causal connection between the conditions of employment and the occupational disease.  Id. at Page 16.  There must also be evidence that establishes “a probability that working conditions caused the disease, although they need not be the sole cause,” and that “the claimant does not need to establish by medical certainty that his or her injury was caused by an occupational disease in order to be eligible for compensation.” Id.

In Landis v. St. Luke’s Hospital, et al., Injury Number 17-098196 (affirmed by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission on April 16, 2020), The Honorable Kenneth J. Cain held that the trier of fact may make reasonable inferences from the evidence of mesothelioma. Wagner v. Bondex Int’l, Inc., 368 S.W.3d 340 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012).  Id. at Page 14.  Judge Cain further held that the employee shall be conclusively deemed to have been exposed to the hazards of an occupational disease “when for any length of time, however short, he is employed in an occupation or process in which the hazard of the disease exists.”  Id. at Page 15.  Further, 287.063(2) states the employer liable for the compensation “shall be the employer in whose employment the employee was last exposed to the hazard of the occupational disease prior to evidence of disability, regardless of the length of time of such last exposure.”  Id.  Judge Cain also held that absolute proof of asbestos in a particular workplace is not required, and that per R.S.Mo. 287.063.1 (2005), the employee shall be conclusively deemed to have been exposed to the hazards of an occupational disease when, for any length of time, however short, he is employed in an occupation or process in which the hazard of the disease exists. Id. at Page 16, Footnote #9.

If you have been exposed to Asbestos while working in Missouri and have Mesothelioma or Asbestosis, call Attorney David Hughes at 314-241-4477.

St. Louis Missouri Mesothelioma Lawyer Discussing Asbestos Exposure Cases

In a recent Supreme Court of Missouri Appeal case (Accident Fund Insurance Company; E.J. Cody Company, Inc. v. Robert Casey, Employee/Dolores Murphy), The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Employee. Robert Casey died from mesothelioma caused by repeated exposure to asbestos in the workplace. Before his death, Mr. Casey worked as a floor tile installer and filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, with which his widow, Ms. Murphy, proceeded following his death. The Missouri Supreme Court stated “Due to his extensive asbestos exposure, Mr. Casey was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the fall of 2014. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits against his Employer in February 2015. At the time he filed the claim, Employer was covered under an insurance policy purchased from Insurer. The policy included an endorsement titled “Missouri Notification of Additional Mesothelioma Benefits Endorsement,” providing in pertinent part: Section 287.200.4, subdivision (3), of the Missouri Revised Statutes provides additional benefits in the case of occupational diseases due to toxic exposure that are diagnosed to be mesothelioma and result in permanent total disability or death. Your policy provides insurance for these additional benefits. By accepting this policy, Employer opted in to liability coverage for the additional mesothelioma benefits provided by Section 287.200.4, which allows for enhanced compensation for “all [mesothelioma] claims filed on or after January 1, 2014.”

The Missouri’s workers’ compensation law was amended in 2014 to provide enhanced compensation for individuals diagnosed with occupational diseases such as mesothelioma. Section 287.200.4(3). Coverage is provided for “all claims filed on or after January 1, 2014, for occupational diseases due to toxic exposure which result in a permanent total disability or death.” Section 287.200.4. Employers may either accept or reject liability for mesothelioma. If an employer elects to accept liability, it must insure its “entire liability” under the act, which includes accepting all of the act’s provisions. In other words, an insurer cannot avoid certain liabilities by constructing its policy to exclude certain provisions of the workers’ compensation statute and cover only the provisions it prefers. The Supreme Court concluded that because Mr. Casey’s exposure to asbestos occurred while he was employed by E.J. Cody Company, Inc. (“Employer”), its insurer, Accident Fund National Insurance Company (“Insurer”), was liable since the employer purchased a policy which was meant to cover all of the employer’s workers’ compensation liability, and which included a mesothelioma endorsement to cover all liability arising out of any mesothelioma claims filed on our after January 1, 2014.

The Missouri Supreme Court found that the standard policy provision which limits liability for exposure injuries to those which were caused by exposure during the policy period was modified by the addition of the mesothelioma endorsement. The Court observed that to rule otherwise would make the mesothelioma endorsement “essentially worthless”.

When you or a family member has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, our dedicated lawyers can help. Mogab & Hughes Attorneys has been in business for 55 years and has handled numerous work and non-work related mesothelioma cases. If you need help, contact Attorney David Hughes at 314-241-4477 or email davidhughes@mogabandhughes.com. We offer a free consultation, extensive knowledge in asbestos related diseases and laws, and will thoroughly investigate, research, and gather evidence for your Mesothelioma case.