office@clarkforklaw.com
(406) 728-0168

ROBERT WOMMACK vs. LIBERTY MUTUAL FIRE INS. CO. et al.

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

If Petitioner changes job and insurer but continues to be exposed to the same type and kind of conditions that caused his OD, is original insurer liable?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2017 MTWCC 8 WCC No. 2015-3518. ROBERT WOMMACK vs.NATIONAL FARMERS UNION PROPERTY & CASUALTY CO., NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INS. CO., MONTANA STATE FUND, CHS INC., LIBERTY MUTUAL FIRE INS. CO., and DOES 1-5, inclusive.

Summary: Petitioner developed an OD from exposure to asbestos at the refinery where he worked. For most of his career, Petitioner worked within the refinery, but in the years before his retirement, he worked as an asphalt salesman based in an office across the street. The insurers at risk during Petitioner’s time in the refinery maintain that he continued to be exposed to asbestos after changing jobs and his last injurious exposure occurred when he worked as a salesman. The insurer at risk during Petitioner’s time as a salesman argues that Petitioner’s last injurious exposure occurred when he worked full-time in the refinery.

Held: Although Petitioner’s most significant exposure to asbestos occurred prior to accepting the sales position, he continued to experience exposure to asbestos until he retired. Since Petitioner continued to be exposed to the same type and kind of conditions which caused his OD, under In re Mitchell’s “potentially causal” standard, Petitioner’s last injurious exposure occurred when he worked as an asphalt salesman, and the insurer at risk at that time is therefore liable.

JUDGMENT: Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co. is liable for Wommack’s occupational disease. Wommack is entitled to his costs pursuant to § 39-71-611, MCA. Wommack is not entitled to his attorney fees. Wommack is not entitled to a penalty.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/w/Wommack_2017MTWCC8.pdf