Two concepts that are often misunderstood and frequently the subject of litigation in Georgia are “fictional new injury” and “change in condition.”  A recent case that made its way through the Georgia appellate system, Scott v. Shaw Industries, Inc., illustrates how these concepts sometimes overlap and exposes the difficulty that courts often have in distinguishing between the two.In 1996, Ms. Scott, who worked as a carpet inspector, got her foot caught in a carpet roller and suffered serious injuries requiring the partial amputation of her right foot.  She missed 10 months of work, during which time she received temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.  She returned to work in 1997, and worked the next 12 years in the employer’s customer service department.  Over the years, due to her altered gait, Scott developed problems with her knees, and in 2009, she ceased working upon the recommendation of her physician. Scott sought workers’…       Read More

Eight Million Passwords Spilled From Gaming Site Gamigo Months After Breach  Forbes  By: Andy Greenberg “It’s the largest leak I’ve ever actually seen,” says Thomas, whose startup seeks to track data breaches and alert users when their information is published. “When this breach originally happened, the data wasn’t released, so it wasn’t a big concern.  Patient Information May Have Been Breached After Laptop Stolen at Beth Israel …  Boston Globe  By: Kay Lazar This is not the first data breach at Beth Israel Deaconess. A year ago, roughly 2000 patients were notified that their personal health information may have been compromised when a vendor failed to restore security controls following routine maintenance. Healthcare Data Breaches Still Rising  HealthTechZone  By: Deborah Hirsch I love all the new mobile apps out there. Tracking my mileage on my runs. Checking my blood pressure and pulse, afterward. Comparing how much, and how well, I…       Read More

No Ground Gained in Data Theft War Boston Globe  By: Hiawatha Bray There have been more than 200 cases of lost or stolen personal data affecting 8.5 million Americans during the first half of this year, according to a San Diego research group, as a new wave of political and amateur hackers commit data breaches such as … High-Tech Hacker Gets Almost 8 Years in $3M Seattle Theft Ring  The Seattle Times  By: Mike Carter They then would hack into the company’s network from outside, cracking the security code and accessing company computers and information. In other cases, they would physically break into the company and install “malware” on a computer designed to … The Worst Security Snafus of 2012 – So Far Computerworld New Zealand By: Ellen Messmer From the embarrassing hack of a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard to a plethora of data breaches, security snafus…       Read More

Malware Threat to Internet Corralled  Wall Street Journal  By: Daniel Lippman & Julian E. Barnes There were few signs that many Americans lost their Web access amid a cybersecurity threat. Internet providers said they had moved to ensure that computers infected with malware left behind by a hacking spree continued to access the Internet normally.  India Against EU Study of Its Data Security Laws  Times of India  By: Amiti Sen India has protested a European Union decision to study India’s data protection laws.  Data Breach Bills: Where’s The Meat?  By: Linda Foley The most recent of many federal data breach bills was introduced on July 2 by Republican Senator Pat Toomey. Like many bills that have come before it the Data S.  European Ruling on Google Privacy Policy Set for September Reuters France’s data protection watchdog said it will likely wrap up the inquiry of Google’s new privacy policy,…       Read More

Cybercriminals Sniff Out Vulnerable Firms Wall Street Journal  About 72% of the 855 data breaches world-wide analyzed last year by Verizon Communications Inc.’s forensic analysis unit were at companies with 100 or fewer employees. That’s up from 63% of the 761 data breaches it analyzed in 2010. The figures …   New EU Guidelines to Address Cloud Computing New York Times  By: Kevin J. O’Brien  The European Commission’s privacy panel will call on companies to offer audits that assure data protection. Japan Sets Up Task Force to Tackle Cyber-Attacks  Asahi Shimbun  By: Satoshi Okamoto In the past, most cyber-attacks were set in motion by hackers wanting simply to show off their technological prowess and expertise. But nowadays, the goal is often to access sensitive information. “We formed the (CYMAT) team, comprising employees from … Facebook, LinkedIn Boost Privacy Drive-Watchdog Reuters  By: Lorraine Turner Technology groups Facebook and LinkedIn have agreed…       Read More

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the massive health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the law’s individual mandate has survived constitutional scrutiny, many challenges and questions for employers remain. Employers must make critical decisions about their health care coverage as key provisions of the ACA become effective. Employer Plan Changes The ACA attempted to both broaden and standardize the coverage provided by employers: Plans must provide dependent coverage for children up to age 26 (effective in 2011; until 2014, grandfathered plans need not provide coverage to dependents who are eligible for other employer-provided coverage). Plans must provide for preventive care without cost-sharing (effective in 2011; non-grandfathered plans only). Plans must provide an enhanced internal appeals process and an external independent review stage (effective in 2011; non-grandfathered plans only). Plans must not rescind coverage retroactively, except in situations involving fraud (effective in 2011). Plans…       Read More

When most people think of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), theyimmediately think of the mafia and organized crime.  However, a recent decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals may open the door for future RICO claims in a workers’ compensation setting. In Brown v. Cassens Transport Company, Sixth Circuit, No. 10-2334, (April 6, 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that employers who have seemingly colluded with their insurers and physicians to deny a claimant workers’ compensation benefits can be sued for damages under the civil portions of the RICO Act.  In Brown, six Plaintiffs, all of whom were current or former employees of Cassens, alleged that the Defendants schemed to wrongfully deny them workers’ compensation benefits.  The Defendants named included the employer, their insurer, and an employer-chosen physician. Specifically, the Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant doctor was biased due to the…       Read More

   dil·i·gent [dil-i-juhnt]  adjective1.  constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything:  a diligent student.  2. done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking:  a diligent search of the files. The Georgia Court of Appeals has recently reaffirmed the Maloney v. Gordon Farms decision from 1995, which requires a “diligent, but unsuccessful effort to secure suitable employment after termination,” for workers with work restrictions, who are terminated for reasons unrelated to their compensable injuries, to demonstrate a change in condition to become entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits under workers’ compensation.  Specifically, in Brown Mechanical Contractors, Inc. et al. v. Maughon the Court of Appeals maintained that the burden of proof is on the claimant to show a diligent, but unsuccessful job search.  In the Maughon decision, the claimant was laid off while he had medical restrictions from a compensable and work-related injury, but was laid…       Read More