January 13, 2020

Employee vs. Contractor

“Little companies just trying to start out won’t be able to afford our services.”

— Tamara Ellison, whose Ontario, Calif.-based company bears her name, has used independent contractors in her business. She said she may have to limit the services she offers and raise her prices due to a new California law that makes it harder for companies to treat workers as independent contractors.

Fair Enforcement

“Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement.”

— Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Wilmington, Del.-based Dana Railcare for confined space hazards following an employee fatality in Pittston, Penn. The railcar service provider faces $551,226 in proposed penalties.

Louisiana Tort Reform

“We have to let the middle class and the public know that we are attempting as the leaders of this state to help them with these high insurance rates.”

— Rep. Sherman Mack, a lawyer aiming to be the next speaker of the Louisiana of Representatives, comments on GOP lawmakers’ plans to try and implement tort reform in the 2020 legislative session. They want to limit damages awarded in car wreck lawsuits, which they say are a leading cause of the costly auto insurance rates in Louisiana.

Not Easily Rattled

“That was the most scared I’ve ever been in my whole life, and I’m not easily rattled. But when the walls start flexing and it sounds like the roof is about to cave in, I get pretty panicked and scared.”

— Robert Baker, a worker at the Beechcraft aircraft manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas, describes his reaction to an explosion that occurred at the plant on Dec. 27 when a nitrogen line ruptured. No one was killed, but 11 people were taken to hospitals for injuries and four were treated at the scene. Baker had worked at the plant for about a month when the explosion occurred.

Tragic and Preventable

“John’s tragic and preventable death happened as a result of a series of safety-related failures. Learning from these failures will go a long way in making sure that similar tragedies do not happen to another performer or another family.”

— Jeffery Harris, attorney for the family of stuntman John Bernecker, who fell to his death from a balcony while on the Atlanta set of the AMC show “The Walking Dead.” The family was awarded $8.6 million in a wrongful death trial that concluded last month. Bernecker’s parents claimed the accident happened because safety measures were skimped on for financial and scheduling concerns. The network and production company argued the fall during a staged fight was an unforeseen accident when Bernecker missed a landing pad 25 feet below.

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From This Issue

Insurance Journal West January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020
Insurance Journal West Magazine

IJ’s Agents of the Year; 2020 Agents & Brokers Meetings / Conventions Directory; Market: Employment Practices Liability