March 13, 2020

To our clients:

In light of the widespread concern regarding the Coronavirus, CFP Law Group would like to share some recommendations regarding the contraction of this disease in the workplace and its effect on future Workers’ Compensation claims.

According to Lussier v. Sadler Bros., Inc., a 1998 Reviewing Board decision, in order for an infectious or contagious disease to be compensable under the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation statute, the hazard of contracting the disease must be “inherent in the employment.”

In Lussier, an employee who worked for the insured as a machine operator contracted tuberculosis from a co-worker. The employee filed a claim for benefits alleging her contraction of tuberculosis at work sufficed as a personal injury as defined by the statute and was thus entitled to benefits. The insurer was ordered to pay benefits but appealed that Order to the Reviewing Board. The Reviewing Board agreed with the insurer’s position and found that the employee’s contraction of tuberculosis was not an “essential characteristic of her employment as a machine operator.” This decision was in line with Zerofski’s Case, decided in 1982, which held that “to be compensable, the harm must arise . . . from an identifiable condition that is not common and necessary to all or a great many occupations.”

The Court in Lussier referenced multiple cases in which the contraction of an infectious disease would be compensable under the statute:

  • In Mercier’s Case, the SJC held that “the nature of the employment of a nurse attending tubercular patients is such that the hazard of contracting the disease might well be found to be inherent in the employment.”
  • In Hough v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board, the SJC held that the nature of a nurse’s employment at a hospital treating cases of tuberculosis could be found to be a “hazard inherent to the employment.” Hazard was defined in this case as “a danger or risk lurking in a situation which by chance or fortuity develops into an active agency of harm.”

An additional Reviewing Board case decided in 2007, Langevin v. Air Liquide America, held that the hazard of contracting bacterial meningitis while working for a trucking company was not an “essential characteristic” of that employment, and therefore was not compensable.

Another Reviewing Board decision, Cheril Young’s Case, was affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2005. In Young, the employee was an emergency room technician who contracted hepatitis C at work and was awarded Workers’ Compensation benefits. The court relied on the impartial physician’s report which found the employee’s contraction of hepatitis C to be related to her emergency room exposure given that it was the only risk factor to which the employee was exposed. Moreover, the impartial physician specifically ruled out any other potential causes.

The takeaway from these cases is that the contraction of the Coronavirus in the workplace is generally not considered a compensable injury under the statute, unless the danger of contracting the virus is inherent to the employee’s occupation. The burden of proof remains with the employee to prove the causal relationship between the employment and the contraction of the virus. Based on these cases, it appears that hospital personnel who provide direct patient care to an infected individual and consequently contract the virus may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coronavirus is transmitted “primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes.” While the virus could be present in a hospital or other workplace setting, that is not the only location in which an employee could be exposed. Therefore, as previously stated, an employee seeking Workers’ Compensation benefits due to the contraction of the Coronavirus will have the burden of proving that the contraction of the virus is directly related to the employment and, as demonstrated in Young, will need to rule out any other potential causes. If contraction of the virus is deemed to be work related, the employee will need to be symptomatic and disabled from work for five or more days in order to receive weekly benefits.

Every potential claim and workplace situation is inherently unique, subject to its own specific facts and circumstances, which may affect potential compensability.

As of this date, employees who are ordered to undergo quarantine and are thus not able to work in their usual jobs are not considered disabled under the Workers’ Compensation statute.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office.


Mary Ann Calnan, Ann Marie Freeley & Shenan Pellegrini

August 20, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. is happy to announce that we are continuing to grow.

Attorney Kathleen Greeley, a former Managing Attorney for AIG House Counsel has joined the firm.  Kathy is a graduate of Boston College and New England School of Law.  She has concentrated her practice in insurance defense for the past several years.  She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

In addition,  Attorney Ann Marie Paglia has joined the firm.  Ann Marie is a well-known  defense Attorney.  She is a graduate of Roger Williams University and Roger Williams School of Law.  She is admitted to practice  in MA, RI and CT.  Ann Marie also has experience in the Defense Base Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

We are looking forward to working with Kathy and Ann Marie, both seasoned and well respected Attorneys.  Please contact Kathy at 617-377-7900 or kgreeley@cfplawgroup.com and Ann Marie at 617-377-7900 or ampaglia@cfplawgroup.com.

In other news,  Calnan Freeley and Pellegrini, P.C. was recently appointed  to the AIG panel counsel list.

August 3, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. is proud to announce founding Partner Shenan Pellegrini was recently appointed as Chairperson of the Worker’s Compensation Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

April 27, 2018

Gina L. Fleury, a law clerk at Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. was recently published in The Suffolk Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy,  Volume XXIII, 2017-2018, Issue 1.  Gina, who will graduate from Suffolk University Law School next month, wrote a case comment on Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, 137 S. Ct. 855 (2017) concerning the Sixth Amendment and the “no impeachment rule.”   Congratulations Gina.

March 30, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. is proud and honored to announce that founding Partner Mary Ann Calnan was awarded the “James Garretson Advocacy Award” at the 2018 Annual Workers’ Compensation Bench/Bar Dinner.

The James Garretson Advocacy Award recognizes one member of the Workers’ Compensation Bar for excellence in the field, for professionalism in and out of the courtroom, and for fair and zealous advocacy on behalf of clients.

March 19, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. is pleased to announce that Matthew M. Bailey, Esq. has joined the firm as an Associate.

Matthew comes to us from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.  He began his career at the DA’s Office after law school, and progressed to Supervising Assistant District Attorney at the Ayer and Somerville District Courts.  Matthew prosecuted over 40 jury trials,  and conducted investigations and presented matters to the Middlesex Grand Jury.  Matthew handled cases at all stages of litigation in multiple District Courts and Middlesex Superior Court.  He also wrote appellate briefs and argued before the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

Matthew is an honors graduate of the University of Michigan and graduated from Boston University School of Law where he won the Best Brief Award in the Edward C. Stone Moot Court Competition.  He may be reached at 617-377-7900 or mbailey@cfplawgroup.com

February 12, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. are pleased to announce the that Attorney John Lang and Attorney Elisa Petrigliano have joined the firm.

Attorney Lang will join the firm in an Of Counsel position and will specialize in liability issues.  Attorney Lang is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross and Boston University School of Law. He has been defending insurers and self-insureds in Massachusetts for over 35 years. His civil litigation experience encompasses a wide variety of areas, including product liability, construction litigation, professional liability, municipal law, commercial litigation and subrogation. He has represented most of the major commercial insurers in the course of his career.

Mr. Lang has tried numerous cases in both state and federal courts throughout Massachusetts and has argued cases before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court.

Mr. Lang was formerly a partner at the law firm of Driscoll, Gillespie & Stanton and subsequently a senior partner at the law firm of Stanton & Lang and subsequently founded his own practice Lang & Associates.  Attorney Lang can be reached at 617-377-7900 or jlang@cfplawgroup.com.

Attorney Elisa Petrigliano is a graduate of Rutgers University and a recent graduate of Suffolk University Law School where she graduated with a Concentration with Distinction in Labor & Employment Law.  She previously interned with the City of Boston Labor Relations department and also worked for Suffolk University’s Human Resource office in the area of employment law.  Attorney Petrigliano will concentrate her practice in worker’s compensation and employment law.  She may be reached at 617-377-7900 or epetrigliano@cfplawgroup.com.

February 7, 2018

Founding Partner Shenan Pellegrini gave a “Nuts and Bolts” Workers’ Compensation Seminar for Gould Institute and ABC Members.

February 2, 2018

Calnan, Freeley & Pellegrini, P.C. is certified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Woman Business Enterprise WBE.

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