Case Law Alerts
Supreme Court of New Jersey holds that cardiovascular death is not compensable.
The New Jersey Supreme Court reiterated that there remains a heightened standard of proof and causation for cardiovascular claims. The Supreme Court opined in Renner that the decedent husband/petitioner failed to sustain his burden of proving a compensable cardiovascular death.
Although cardiovascular claims are more regularly associated with heavy labor jobs, this case involved a sedentary job with an unusual level of inactivity. The judge of compensation found there to be a compensable cardiovascular death, and the Appellate Division affirmed. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court reversed those decisions and found that the decedent’s husband/petitioner failed to sustain his burden of proving a compensable cardiovascular death under the standards of N.J.S.A. 34:15-7.2 (Section 7.2), which governs the burden of proof for cardiovascular claims.
In its decision, the Court provided an analysis of the evolution of the cardiovascular burden of proof in New Jersey. The Court also provided an analysis of the legislative intent behind the 1979 Amendment to Section 7.2, which is still the governing law for cardiovascular injuries/deaths. The Renner decision focuses on the interpretation of the “substantial condition or event component” of Section 7.2. The decedent’s extended period of sitting was not a “substantial condition, event or happening” under the facts of this case. Extended periods of sitting were not a job requirement, and the decedent was not confined to a specific space or instructed not to move from her workstation. The decedent had control over her body position, movements and ability to take breaks.
Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2014