Kroger to pay massive fine for opioids
- The Kroger Co. has reached an agreement in principle with plaintiffs to settle the majority of opioid claims that have been or could be brought against the Company by states, subdivisions, and Native American tribes.
- Kroger has agreed to pay up to $1.2 billion to states and subdivisions $36 million to Native American tribes in funding for abatement efforts (both to be paid over 11 years in equal installments), and approximately $177 million to cover attorneys’ fees and costs.
- The timing of the settlement payments over multiple years, most of which are tax-deductible, results in an after-tax net present value to Kroger of approximately $870 million.
- Initial payments would begin in December 2023.
Washington State boosts workers’ comp program
- Washington State Labor Council’s Project HELP educates injured workers on how to navigate the state’s workers’ compensation system and offers workshops explaining this safety net for injured workers and their families.
- Project HELP is doing more workshops, more presentations, more labor-management events, and generally seizing more other opportunities to spread the word about the program.
- During its 2022-2023 contract period, Project HELP participated in more than 200 such events, a 43% increase from the previous year.
- The contract year summary of data collected from July 2022 through June 2023 found that Project HELP responded to a total of 1,754 claim inquiries, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
New York Gov. signs bill to boost workers’ comp
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation to support, protect, and expand benefits for New York workers.
- Hochul signed legislation to prohibit employers from disciplining employees that opt not to participate in meetings about the employer’s political or religious views.
- The governor signed legislation to make wage theft a form of larceny and allow prosecutors to seek stronger criminal penalties against employers who steal wages from workers.
- Hochul also signed legislation to increase the minimum benefits for workers’ compensation to better protect low-wage workers who are injured and cannot work.
Flordia has prompt workers’ comp claims process
- Florida law requires an insurance company to accept or deny a workers’ compensation claim after they are reported within 14 days after an accident, or a Petition for Benefits is filed.
- The 120-day pay and investigate rule is the best tool in an insurance company’s toolbox when there are questions that require further investigation in a claim.
- While this rule requires that the employer/carrier pay benefits while it investigates, this allows a longer period in which the compensability of an accident or pre-existing personal condition could be denied after the initial reporting of a work accident.
- If the insurance company fails to send a letter to the injured worker, the ability to later deny the requested benefits may be an issue.