Barkan Meizlish Derose Cox Wins First Trial Since Pandemic

On Friday, June 3, 2022, a Ross County jury awarded Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox client John R. Gilliland the right to participate in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fund (BWC) for an injury that occurred in the course of and arising out of his employment.  

The jury rejected the employer’s argument that the injury did not occur while Mr. Gilliland was on the job. The case was tried over three days and the jury’s verdict was returned in less than two hours. 

The case will now be returned to the BWC where Mr. Gilliland will be awarded benefits for the fractured neck he suffered in the work-related accident.  The case was referred to Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox by the law firm of Knisley Brush of Chillicothe, Ohio.

The case was tried by Ohio workers’ compensation trial attorneys Sandy Meizlish and Brian Noethlich.  It was the first trial for the firm since the onset of the pandemic.  

How Our Ohio Workers’ Compensation Trial Attorneys Fight for You

We know that this victory for hard-working Ohioans is just the first of many. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions and difficulties in many parts of our lives, including litigation and the court system. So while this win is just one of several to come, it is an important landmark for our trial workers’ compensation attorneys in Ohio.

As an accomplished Ohio workers’ compensation law firm, we continue to work tirelessly to defend your rights as a worker in Ohio. Mr. Gilliland’s case was one where an employer wanted to deny him access to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fund to which he was entitled and had worked for. We didn’t let that happen.

 

The level of care, detail, and preparation that we put into this case, as well as the passion we put into fighting for our client, propelled us to victory. Mr. Gilliland was in the right, and we did everything in our power to make sure the jury saw that.

This is the type of passionate work, care, and dedication you can, and should, always expect from the trial workers’ compensation lawyers at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox all over the state of Ohio. We are ready to take your case all the way to trial and win if that’s what’s necessary.

We Are More Than Just Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Today, the spotlight is on our trial workers’ compensation attorneys for their big win on behalf of a hard-working and deserving Ohioan. But Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox is also a versatile Ohio law firm with employment attorneys working on behalf of Ohio workers in areas such as wrongful termination, discrimination, and unpaid wages and hours.

Even if you have not been injured or wronged by an employer, we are also skilled Columbus personal injury lawyers and auto accident lawyers ready to fight on your behalf to help you recover after an injury, accident, or employment issue wrongfully caused by another.

June’s trial win reaffirms our commitment to fighting for Ohioans to enforce their rights under the law. If you’ve suffered an injury on or off the job, physical, emotional, or financial, contact Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox today and let us see how we can go to work for you!

How Does Product Liability Work in Ohio?

How Does Product Liability Work in Ohio?

Injuries and accidents happen all the time. Injuries caused by a defective product may qualify you for a product liability lawsuit.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) organizes its accident, injury and fatality statistics into the following categories.

  • Amusement Rides
  • All-terrain vehicles and recreational off-road vehicles
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Chemicals
  • Electrical
  • Electrocutions
  • Fire
  • Fuel, lighters and fireworks
  • Furniture and decor
  • Home appliances, maintenance and construction
  • Kitchen and dining
  • Nonpool submersions
  • Nursery products
  • Older adults
  • Other children’s products
  • Other furniture and décor
  • Other sports
  • Pediatric poisonings
  • Playgrounds
  • Pool and spas
  • Portable generators
  • Portable generators and engine-driven tools
  • Public facilities and products
  • Sports and recreation
  • Tipovers
  • Toys
  • Toys and children’s products

 

As extensive as that list is, it omits cars, trucks, automotive equipment, and a whole range of other items and devices that people regularly use in their homes and at work.

The categories of consumer products that are monitored for the harms they cause exist, first, to identify dangerous and defective items. That information is then used to either make products safer or to remove them from the market.

Second, the CPSC’s list reflects the bedrock legal principle that companies and individuals who make and sell products have enforceable duties to ensure their products will not injure or kill people. Breaching those duties creates product liability.

How Does Ohio Define Product Liability?

Section 2307.71 of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) states that manufacturers or suppliers face product liability when one of the items they make or sell causes a death or injury because the item

  • Was poorly designed, formulated, constructed, assembled, repaired, or tested;
  • Was deceptively or fraudulently marketed;
  • Lacked sufficient warnings;
  • Lacked adequate instructions for safe use; or
  • Failed “to conform to any relevant representation or warranty.”

This section of the O.R.C. also defines a manufacturer as “a person [or company] engaged in a business to design, formulate, produce, create, make, construct, assemble, or rebuild a product or a component of a product.” Under the law, a supplier is either “a person [or company] that, in the course of a business conducted for the purpose, sells, distributes, leases, prepares, blends, packages, labels, or otherwise participates in the placing of a product in the stream of commerce” or “a person [or company] that, in the course of a business conducted for the purpose, installs, repairs, or maintains any aspect of a product.”

Grounds for filing a product liability lawsuit exist when the use of a defective or dangerous product directly causes death, physical injury or emotional distress to a person. The use can be one time for over an extended period. Property damage from a defective or dangerous product can also merit a lawsuit.

How Long Do I Have to File a Product Liability Claim in Ohio?

Generally, section 2305.01 of the O.R.C. sets the statute of limitations for a product liability claim at two years from the date on which a personal injury or wrongful death occurred. The law further specifies that injuries or deaths that happen more than 10 years after a product was purchased will not support claims for compensation.

A major exception to the statute of limitation involves injuries or death due to an exposure or ingestion of medications or hazardous and toxic chemicals, or the implantation or use of a medical device. In those situations, the deadline for filing a product liability lawsuit extends from the date on which a diagnosis of the harm was made.

What Types of Damages Can Be Claimed in a Product Liability Lawsuit?

Ohio’s product liability laws allow victims to demand compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are monetary settlements or jury awards that cover the costs of the victim’s past and future medical treatments, replace lost wages and future earnings, and compensate the victim for physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Punitive damages are noncriminal fines assessed to penalize a negligent or reckless manufacturer or supplier. These are also called exemplary damages because the financial penalty is meant to serve as an example of what could happen to another person or company that acts in a similarly negligent or reckless way. Only a jury can award punitive damages, but a product liability claim can be settled without going to trial.

On a final note, when a dangerous or defective product kills a user, Ohio law permits the victim’s spouse, adult child, next of kin, relative, or legal executor to file a wrongful death claim on the deceased victim’s behalf.

Paraquat linked to increased rates of Parkinson’s disease

Paraquat linked to increased rates of Parkinson’s disease

Paraquat dichloride (a.k.a. “paraquat”) is the most common brand of herbicide in the United States. Also referred to as Gramoxone, Paraquat is a chemical pesticide used to kill leaves that it comes into contact with. Applied as a spray, it has been used to clear fields before planting in United States commercial farming and agriculture since the 1960s. Applicators typically spray it on commercial crops such as corn, soy and cotton.

Paraquat is extremely toxic and harmful to humans. Ingesting as little as one sip of paraquat can kill you. Manufacturers mix paraquat with blue dye so that it is not confused with a food product. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) classifies paraquat as a restricted use pesticide, meaning only certified pesticide applicators can use it. To be a certified pesticide applicator, a person must take an EPA-approved training and examination, and continue to be regulated by the state where they acquire and apply paraquat. Once certified, the individual becomes a “commercially licensed applicator.” Unfortunately, commercially licensed applicators of paraquat are “the most at risk for exposure.”[1]

Exposure can incur by ingestion, inhalation, and skin exposure. Safety measures exist to prevent accidental ingestion, direct inhalation, and/or exposure while mixing and applying. Unfortunately, the commercially licensed applicators and those who work with them (including groundskeepers, farmers, growers, pickers, and other agricultural workers), are exposed to paraquat residue on their clothes, skin, and hair. They are also exposed to mist drift when the wind changes while they are applying the pesticide.

Multiple scientific studies have linked repeated exposure to paraquat in low doses to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease effects the human neurological system. Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease often experience reduced control over their fine motor skills.  As a result, tremors, loss of balance and coordination, slower movement, and rigid limbs are all associated with this devastating disease. Unlike other neurodegenerative diseases, the genetic cause of Parkinson’s is not completely clear and thought to be low. However, the link between Parkinson’s and exposure to pesticides such as Paraquat has been demonstrated through numerous scientific studies. “People who used [paraquat] developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users.”[2]

Commercially licensed applicators and other agricultural workers exposed to smaller amounts of the chemical over a long period may not manifest symptoms for years.  Many commercially licensed applicators and other agricultural workers who have been exposed to Paraquat and later developed Parkinson’s disease are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers. If you or a loved one was exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, you should seek legal advice on your rights.

 

Believe you were affected? Contact our Paraquat attorneys.

Bob DeRose

[1] https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/paraquat/basics/facts.asp

[2] Robin Arnette, NIH study finds two pesticides associated with Parkinson’s disease., National Institute of Health, February 11, 2021

From the Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP Archives: Letter to the Editor

Stop the medical errors, and you stop the lawsuits

March 3, 2012 | Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)
Page: 9A | Section: Editorial & Comment | Column: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
437 Words

With regard to the Feb. 20 article “Doctors go on the defensive with tests,” I offer the following comments that hopefully reflect the other side of the debate.

The article described a practice among some doctors who allege they order unnecessary tests as a hedge against potential medical-malpractice claims.

There is a crisis in medicine: medical errors, and errors ought to be the primary concern of the medical community, not the declining number of lawsuits against hospitals and doctors when those preventable errors occur.

Rather than asking how we can further reduce the number of lawsuits and limit accountability, which was done legislatively in the early 2000s (the number of lawsuits in Ohio has declined every year since), we should be considering how we can improve the quality of medical care in this state and reduce the staggeringly high rate of medical errors.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people die annually because of medical errors. That’s the equivalent of two 737 airplanes crashing every day for a whole year.

Health Affairs magazine reported last year that one in three patients in a hospital is the victim of medical errors. Why aren’t we talking about these horrifying statistics and the ways to solve the problem?

Wouldn’t Ohioans be better served by working to find solutions to this rampant problem rather than trying to reduce overall accountability when those errors occur?

We also question the veracity of the self-reports where doctors claim to order unnecessary tests. The law does not require doctors to order any tests.

Instead, a doctor need only act reasonably in the care and treatment of the patient, and if it is reasonable to not order certain tests, the doctor cannot be held liable.

Second, many tests, particularly invasive tests, come with inherent risks. It is inconceivable that a caring doctor would intentionally subject a patient to such a test simply for selfish reasons.

Third, in Ohio, a doctor cannot be sued at all unless another physician in the same specialty has executed an affidavit under oath stating the treating doctor acted unreasonably. So, it is doctors who determine whether a treating doctor can be sued, not the patient or the patient’s lawyer.

Such a physician surely could determine whether a test was necessary or not. The law already has been changed many times to discourage patients from filing claims.

Additionally, if we can raise Ohio’s standard for the quality of care, the few remaining lawsuits due to medical malpractice will naturally fall. If, however, we simply reduce the ability of average citizens to seek justice through our courts, we are turning a blind eye to the real problem.

BOB DeROSE

Updates on Temperature Checks and the FLSA

Updates on Temperature Checks and the FLSA

In mid-2020, the team at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP reported on the new workplace normal. Namely, we analyzed how mandated temperature checks could lead employers into hot water. Between workplace ethics and potential FLSA violations, the institution of regular temperature checks and other COVID-19 conscious practices led to these concerns. Now, in early 2021, employees across the United States are finding themselves the victims of such FLSA violations.

In a recent California federal court filing, a tennis company came under fire when employees reported underpayment of wages. This underpayment seems to be a direct result of newly instituted COVID-19 safety measures, such as temperature checks. The company expected employees to undergo such measures prior to clocking in. The FLSA protects workers from their employers expecting work be done off the clock, including meetings, pre-shift duties, and post-shift duties. Temperature checks fall under this umbrella, as both statewide mandates and employer-instituted regulations require can require employees undergo this action.

This is not the first collective and class action suit to be filed in relation to unpaid wages and COVID-19 precautions. Apple, Walmart, and Converse have all been hit with similar filings. With large companies being hit left and right with actions regarding FLSA violations and COVID-19 safety checks, small company should take note.

Some Information on the FSLA:

Employees are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the FLSA. The FLSA ensures that employers are held accountable under federal law for proper payment of employees. In the case of mandated temperature checks, employees should anticipate payment for undergoing such an event before the technical start of their shift. As a required workplace action, employees should be compensated for their time.

 

If you are concerned that your workplace has not been properly paying you, an attorney may be able to help. Contact attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP today to set up a free consultation.

Uber Eats and the Pandemic Economy

Uber Eats and the Pandemic Economy

Armin Samii, a computer programmer who has been working part-time for Uber Eats, claims to have found evidence that the food delivery service has been routinely underpaying its drivers. Uber Eats’ policy is to pay its delivery works on a per-mile basis. This is the standard within the food delivery industry. However, according to a Google Chrome extension, “UberCheats,” built by Samii, Uber has allegedly been regularly shorting its delivery workers on 25-30% of trips, according to Salon.

Samii created this extension after an experience he had with Uber in which the food delivery company admitted to him that, because of a bug on Uber Eats’ end, he was not properly paid for his full delivery. Samii collected data from around 160 Uber Eats drivers through his extension. Through this, he estimates that Uber has underpaid workers on approximately 21% of trips, per Business Insider. To this end, Samii’s data shows that Uber Eats’ delivery drivers are being underpaid by an average of 1.3 miles on those approximately 21% of trips. This finding of routine underpayment by Uber, as well as Uber’s own admission that a bug does, in fact, exist within the delivery tracking method, is potentially disconcerting to Uber eats’ delivery drivers across the country.

What Changed?

Amid a global pandemic, the need for has become apparent to many. The potential that such automation is shorting employee wages on a regular basis is worrisome and harmful as our economy continues to grow and change. In recent months, more people have begun to rely on food delivery services to avoid  exposure to illness, increasing the demand for delivery drivers in the food service industry. Competition has increase as the food delivery industry has become more crowded and ever more necessary. No worker, including the gig workers we have become reliant on during the pandemic, should fear that their employer is intentionally paying them less than they are owed. The increased competition and demand for delivery service is an additional stressor, and improper payment for services is detrimental to the livelihood of this workforce.

 

-Jacob Mikalov for Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP

Summertime Revamp of FLSA is Underway

New FLSA Rules Rolling Out This Summer

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released two new rules relating to overtime calculations and employee compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Change to the Calculation of Overtime for Salaried Workers

Under the FLSA, there are two ways to determine overtime calculations, the “time and a half” method and the “fluctuating workweek” (FWW) method. The latter method is used when an employee receives a fixed salary for working fluctuating hours rather working on an hourly basis. FWW calculates a salaried employee’s overtime by computing the employee’s regular rate of pay each week based on the employee’s hours worked for that week. The new DOL regulations regarding DWW determine that all bonuses, premium payments, and other pay (such as commissions, hazard pay, or nighttime differentials) are included in the calculation of the FWW employee’s regular rate of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime.

This change may mean that salaried employees will see an increase in their overtime pay. However, it may also potentially hurt salaried employees because employers may choose to reduce an employee’s fixed weekly salary and shift considerable portions of an employee’s to bonuses and other forms of payment, all while the employees are averaging the same number of hours throughout the year.

Change to the Compensation of Commissioned Retail and Service Employees

Under the FLSA, commissioned employees working in a retail or service establishment may be exempt from receiving overtime pay. An employee falls within this exemption if they work for a “retail or service establishment,” if their regular rate of pay is in excess of one and one-half times the minimum wage, and if more than half of their compensation was derived from commissions earned from the sale of goods or services.

The most difficult part in determining if an employee fell within this exemption was determining if an employee was a ‘retail’ employee as the FLSA does not define what qualifies as a “retail or service establishment.”  In an attempt clarify if an individual worked in a retail establishment, the Wage & Hour Division of the DOL issued non-exhaustive lists of establishments that did and did not qualify as ‘retail’ under the FLSA.  However, because these lists were often vague, confusing and contradictory they were removed by the DOL. This update to regulation is effective on May 19th and will call for businesses to reevaluate whether they are considered ‘retail’ without the lists for guidance. This may lead to many businesses that formerly viewed themselves as ineligible for the exemption to begin implementing it on their commissioned employees.

Again, this change has the potential to both help and hurt employees depending on how their employers choose to implement the updates. In the worst cases, employees that long considered themselves to be safely outside of the “retail or service” work designation may begin to be considered within it according to their employer and lose the overtime pay they relied upon.

Overall, these updates could be simplifying and beneficial to employees in their shift to a more flexible, COVID-attuned work schedule. If you still have questions about how you may be impacted by these rules, a Wage & Hour attorney can help.

 

– Audrey Bidwell

COVID-19 FAQ

LAYOFFS AND FURLOUGHS DUE TO COVID-19 IN OHIO: WHAT ALL EMPLOYEES NEED TO KNOW.

Employers across Ohio are closing their operations due to Gov. DeWine’s declaration of a state of emergency and the “Shelter in Place” Order.  While the emergency declaration and the “Shelter in Place” Order are necessary to #flattenthecurve, many Ohio businesses are reducing their workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic through layoffs, furloughs, reductions in hours, and pay cuts. The business decisions an employer makes have different impacts on its employees.

If you have been laid off, furloughed or had a reduction in hours, you have important rights.

OHIO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

The emergency declaration expands unemployment coverage in Ohio until the emergency declaration is lifted.

  • If you are quarantined due to COVID-19 you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • The one week waiting period to file for unemployment benefits has been waived so an unemployed worker can file for benefits immediately upon being separated.

The online form to apply is found at: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/. Applying online will help expedite your application.

If you are working, but have a reduction in hours, you may still be eligible to apply; however, your earnings will be deducted from your maximum benefit amount. This means if what you earn in a week with reduced hours is more than your state maximum benefit, you will not receive unemployment. Maximum Weekly Benefits are:

Number of Dependents If your Average Weekly Wage was: Maximum Weekly Benefit
0 $960 or higher $480
1 or 2 $1,164 or higher $582
3 or more $1,294 or higher $647

 

  • The emergency declaration has waived the requirement that a person receiving unemployment benefits is “actively seeking work.”

THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND EMERGENCY SECURITY ACT

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Emergency Security Act or the “CARES Act” that passed on March 27, 2020 impacts your unemployment benefit entitlement and Maximum Weekly Benefits. Under this federal stimulus law, if you have an unemployment claim in Ohio, you are entitled to an additional weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment on top of existing state unemployment benefits for a maximum of thirty-nine weeks, subject to further extension rules. Further, sick employees who have the coronavirus can also collect unemployment if they are not receiving paid leave benefits.

The CARES Act mandates extension of unemployment coverage to an individual who is otherwise able to work and:

  1. who is not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  2. who has exhausted all rights to regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation;
  3. who is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. who is caring for a household family member who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
  5. who is primary caregiver for a child or other person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and this prevents work;
  6. who is an employee or new hire that is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or health provider self-quarantine;
  7. who has become the breadwinner or source of major support for a household because the head of the household has died from COVID–19;
  8. who has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19 due to closure of the place of employment; or
  9. who is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.

WAGE AND HOUR CONSIDERATIONS

No pay means no work.

If you have had your normal work hours reduced, your employer cannot require you to do any work outside of those reduced hours without you getting paid for it.  In other words, if an employer asks an employee to do any work during the reduced hours, then the employee must be compensated for that time.   Things like answering emails, taking phone calls, picking up mail, etc. are all work activities for which employees must be compensated.

Wages

An employer cannot reduce an hourly employee’s pay below the Ohio minimum wage which is currently $8.70 per hour.  Employers cannot reduce a salaried employee’s weekly wage below $684 per week.  Both of these are still violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Ohio Wage Act.

Payment

The Ohio Prompt Pay Act remains in effect.  Employers must still pay employees at least on a bi-weekly basis and cannot make an employee wait more than 30-days for their paycheck.

NEW FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE RIGHTS AND PAID SICK TIME

On March 18, 2020, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) became law.  The law includes two new important provisions for Ohio workers: 1) an emergency expansion to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and 2) a new Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that requires paid leave for employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak in certain circumstances:

EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT

  • Applies to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and to all public employers that are covered by the FMLA regardless of size.
  • An employee is eligible after he or she has been employed for at least 30 calendar days before the first day of the leave.
  • Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of protected leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. A public health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
  • The first 2 weeks of leave are unpaid, but an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for unpaid leave.
  • After the first 2 weeks, leave is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay, with a cap of $200 per day. For employees with schedules that vary from week to week, a six-month average is to be used to calculate the number of hours to be paid. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the employee’s reasonable expectation at hiring of the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
  • The Secretary of Labor is empowered to issue regulations to exclude healthcare providers and emergency responders from the definition of employees who are allowed to take such leave, and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business.

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT

Requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers regardless of size to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees on top of what the employer now provides (if any). This new paid sick time applies to employees who are unable to work, or telework, because the employee:

  1. Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order.
  2. Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. Is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine as described above.
  5. Is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care has been closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health & Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

What is the Onset Date for Social Security Disability Insurance?

What Does Onset Date Mean?

Simply put, an onset date is a date that you initially sustained an injury or became disabled. This is something that plays a significant role in your SSI approval and back pay amount and can make or break your Social Security Disability case. If you need assistance in determining your onset date you should consult with a reputable disability lawyer like those here at Barkan Meizlish LLP. 

 

Determining the onset date for a disability involves the consideration of your allegations, work history if any, and any medical and other evidence concerning the severity of your medical condition. There are two distinct onset date classifications that you need to understand when dealing with SSI disability. AOD, or alleged onset date, is the date you will provide the social security administration when applying for your benefits. The EOD, or established onset date, is the date in which the social security administration has established the start of your disability.

 

Alleged Onset Date

Your alleged onset date is the date that you submit to the SSA when filing your claim. This is very important as it will determine the amount of backpay you are eligible to receive up to a maximum of 12 months worth. If the Social Security Administration approves your AOD then you will receive back pay starting 5 months after your AOD, to the day your claim was approved. For example:

  • AOD is 1/1/2019
  • Claim accepted 8/1/2019
  • You receive back pay between 6/1 and 8/1 of 2019.

 

Established Onset Date

If the Social Security Administration disagrees with your alleged onset date then they may instead opt for a new later EOD, or established onset date. This can only be done if they have sufficient medical evidence proving that your onset date is later than the AOD you submitted. On the other hand, if the AOD is accepted and approved it effectively becomes the new EOD.

 

Disputing EOD

If you feel that the SSA has cheated you of some back pay then you can dispute the established onset date through the DDS, or Disability Determination Services. Upon this, the DDS will review the EOD and determine whether or not it is going to be upheld. 

Disputing an EOD should not be taken lightly as it may trigger a review of the disability determination and could potentially trigger a complete revocation of the disability ruling.  

Another thing to keep in mind is that if the EOD is still more than 17 months before the initial SSI claim then you won’t be losing any backpay and should refrain from disputing the EOD altogether. To prevent losing your benefits over a discrepancy in AOD and EOD, you should consult with one of our Columbus disability lawyers at Barkan Meizlish LLP.

 

Disability Lawyer Columbus, Ohio

Filing for SSI disability is a complex task that should not be taken on alone. You have already dealt with enough from your injury and trying to take on the entire Social Security Administration without the help of a professional will only make things worse. More information on social security disability can be found here.

If you need assistance in determining your AOD or disputing an unfair EOD then you need to contact the trusted disability lawyers here at Barkan Meizlish LLP. We will walk you through every step of your claim and ensure you get the monthly compensation you deserve.

If you have any question about your disability onset, our Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security attorneys may be able to help. Give Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP a call today.

 

Originally published on May 13th, 2015.

How Doxing and Revenge Porn Laws are Evolving in Ohio

The World and Your Private Images are at Your Fingertips…and Everyone Else’s

In today’s technology focused society, almost everyone carries a weapon in their pocket —their smart phones. The exchange of a phone number, formally the key to communication, is virtually and literally no longer necessary. Social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, connect individuals across the globe without any formal information exchange. This makes sharing, posting, and interacting as simple as one touch on a screen. While there are certainly many ways that social media benefits people globally- bringing them together, making activism easier, and bridging oceans and languages- comes an equal number of potential harmful behaviors.

What is Doxing?

With the simple tap of a screen, a smartphone can go from a communication device into a weapon. The dissemination of personal information- social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, employer, work location- without an individual’s consent is called ‘doxing‘.

Doxing has become an increasingly common online victimization tactic. Doxing is commonly used against individuals with online presences, such as influencers or politicians, but is not limited to public figures. It has become increasingly commonplace to meet people who have been the victims of doxing either by vindictive exes or simply a person with an intent to harm or complicate someone’s life. Victims of doxing are, unfortunately, often the targets of an additionally hateful crime that ruins lives: revenge porn.

What is Revenge Porn?

While pornography itself is not a new concept, the mass distribution of pornography via digital platforms is constantly evolving. Camera phones have made taking sexually explicit images increasingly easy and common among all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Sending and receiving these images is as normalized for many young people who have grown up with access to this technology, much like the prior generations’ ability to pass a note in the hallway. Many of these exchanges are consensual when they begin. There is an often unspoken agreement that these images are only meant for the original recipient. Once the relationship sours, the potential for revenge porn increases.

Revenge Porn or Non-consensual Pornography is a broad categorization of criminal and non-consensual distribution of sexually explicit content. The term was popularized in the early part of the last decade, when activists such as activist Charlotte Laws and attorney Carrie Goldberg  began using their public platforms to educate the public on these types of crime.

As of today, 45 states, D.C., and one U.S. territory have revenge porn laws. The passing of such laws has been a concerted effort among activists. This an amazing first step for victims of revenge porn. However, it is only the start. Many of these statutes are intentionally vague due to fear of conflict with the First Amendment. Cases are often not actively pursued by law enforcement without direct advocacy. The fight to protect victims of revenge and non-consensual pornography is ongoing. It will continue to be fought until the proper protections are put in place for victims.

What Can I Do if I Am the Victim of Revenge Porn? Are There Protections for Me?

In Ohio, R.C. § 2917.211, Non-consensual dissemination of private images, makes it illegal for someone to distribute images of another person when:

  1. The person in the image is 18 or older;
  2. The person in the image can be identified, either from the image itself or the context in which the image was disseminated;
  3. The person is nude or engaged in a sexual act;
  4. The image is disseminated without the person’s consent;
  5. and with intent to harm.

Thus, R.C. § 2917.211 makes sending illicit, sexual imagery of a person over the age of 18 with harmful intent a misdemeanor, with varying penalties depending on whether the violator is a repeat offender.

Also, in Ohio R.C. § 2307.66 gives victims of  non-consensual dissemination of private images a civil cause of action, meaning the right to sue the individual for damages. The damages include any of the following:

  • An injunction or temporary restraining order prohibiting further dissemination of the image;
  • Compensatory and punitive damages;
  • That the offender pays the victim’s reasonable attorneys’ fees; and/or
  • That the offender covers the court costs incurred by the victim in bringing the civil action.

An important inclusion in this statute is  “the victim shall be presumed to have suffered harm as a result of the non-consensual dissemination.” This means the damage caused by any violation of R.C. § 2917.211 is automatically assumed if it is upheld as a violation in court. This allows victims the opportunity to seek damages without “proof” of the harm caused by the dissemination of the illicit images.

Who Can I Ask for Help?

Speaking with an attorney can help you determine what your rights are. It can also help you understand any exceptions that may disqualify you from pursuing any potential damages claim. Laws such as these help victims of doxing and revenge porn fight for justice. These types of crimes have become a worldwide phenomenon and creating protections to fight for victims is crucial.  To speak with an attorney about your situation, call Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP at (800)-274-5297 or send us an email at info@barkanmeizlish.com.

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