Worker’s Comp Defense Attorney Matthew Kearl Conquers Mt. Whitney

Matthew Kearl, Partner at Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez’ Van Nuys Office, has surmounted Mount Whitney. At an elevation of 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous 48 US states and one of the highest on the North American continent. Mount Whitney is unique because not only is it the highest summit in the US, but its summit affords stunning views of the lowest point in the nation, the famed Death Valley.

Meeting the Challenge

Mount Whitney is a challenging climb for even the most experienced individuals. Since it is made up of granite, a surface that can be formidable in even the best hiking conditions, aspiring climbers must thoroughly plan and prepare for summiting the mountain. In addition to the challenges posed by the hiking and climbing surface, climbers must:

  • Follow best practices for avoiding conflicts with the bears and other wildlife that call Mount Whitney home;
  • Do without campfires or artificial heat during their time on the mountain;
  • Be prepared for inclement weather, which at such high elevations can become a major problem in a short period of time.

Summiting Success

Given these difficulties, why do individuals like Kearl summit these challenging mountains? In addition to enjoying the mountain scenery as a reward for the intense effort, summiting a peak like Mount Whitney brings successful climbers into a select group of “summiters,” an extraordinary accomplishment that comes from dedication, determination, and focus – some of the same qualities that allowed Kearl to become one of the top workers’ compensation defense attorneys in the nation.

Matthew Kearl served as California Deputy Attorney General from 1998 to 1999, and embarked on his career as a workers’ compensation defense attorney in 1999. Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez is fortunate to have him as partner at their Van Nuys office and congratulate him on this notable accomplishment.



What is MRSA? Adelson, Testan, et al. Explains the Basics

MRSA, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is a medical condition caused by staph bacterium. MRSA can be transmitted through contact with skin or the personal items of anyone carrying MRSA on their skin, even if they do not have an infection.  In workers’ compensation claims, ordinarily an injured worker has the burden of establishing that an injury arose out of employment. California Labor Code Section 3212.8 provides a presumption that MRSA arose out of employment or the course of employment (AOE/COE) for several classes of workers, whether they are volunteers, partly paid, or fully paid:

  • Sheriff’s officers
  • Police, firefighters and related personnel
  • Forestry (primary duty of firefighting)
  • Fish and game workers

Defending Against MRSA Related Claims

The presumption covers MRSA skin conditions and internal infections for workers during their period of service. Schools, prisons and jails, long term care facilities, gyms, contact sports, and day care centers are all frequent points of origination for such MRSA infections. Given this information, employers must first decide whether to accept or deny a worker’s compensation claim. In industries that do not have a presumption, the employee must prove the MRSA infection is AOE/COE. Employers should take action to:

  • Prove exposure outside of work, such as at a doctor’s visit or contact with an infected person.
  • Establish a full medical history, including all hospital and doctor visits and prescriptions.
  • Run criminal and civil background checks for other potential sources of infection, such as prior convictions for drug use.
  • Obtain a general medical history of persons in close contact who may have transmitted MRSA to the employee.

For presumption cases, it is difficult to rebut a claim, but MRSA related conditions other than skin infections and blood borne diseases are not covered by the presumption. Given the necessity of early treatment in MRSA cases, it may be more cost effective to pay for early medical treatment and fight the claim afterwards. Remember, providing a benefit does not automatically advance approval of a claim.

Learn more about defending against worker’s compensation claims involving MRSA infections from David Tew, Managing Partner of the Adelson, Testan, Brundo & Jimenez Fresno office in our educational seminar series by clicking on the YouTube video below or contact the law offices of Adelson, Testan, et al. for more information.