INEZ - Although attorney John Kirk is not the kind of person to brag about another notch on his legal belt, I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was extremely pleased by recent appellate decisions in the cases of Billy Cassady, Tom Kirk, Jr. and John Goble, three coal miners who, according to three different Administrative Law Judges, had sustained serious and permanent injuries at work at three different mines, one in Pike County an two in Martin County.
Story Of 100% Awards To Cassady, Kirk And Goble Was Previously Reported
15 Months Ago
As we previously reported in a story 15 months ago, Kirk's clients Cassady, Kirk and Goble, had received total, lifetime, awards from Administrative Law Judges Kerr, Campbell and Terry, for injuries sustained at work, but that the companies had appealed all three decisions on the grounds of what Kirk and other lawyers call "Patton's 'Loophole,'" appeals that claimed that the workers' disabilities resulted from "the natural aging process."
Each of the ALJs had found that the workers were disabled as a result of injuries sustained at work and the judges rendered opinions of total disability for the three workers.
"Given the law that was proposed by Governor Patton and passed by the legislature in 1996, my hard-working, disabled, clients sure had a hard road to travel to get justice done," John Kirk said. "But, thank God, justice was done for these men, all of whom had worked many years of 50 hour weeks. I am grateful that justice was done for them and I am honored to have been their lawyer."
Decisions Will Have "Favorable Consequences" For Other Injured Workers
Kirk's law firm, according to Kentucky Department of Labor stats, represents more claimants for injury and lung disabilities than any other Kentucky firm and, according to Roll Call Magazine, a Frankfort publication, leads the state year-after-year in number of worker injury cases won. Kirk believes that the recent decisions affirming Administrative Judges Kerr, Campbell and Terry will have "favorable consequences" for other workers.
"The decisions of the appeals courts will have a ripple effect," Kirk said, "and the effects will be felt in many, many claims for hard-working men and women who have been injured at work. During my years as a lawyer I have developed great faith in the members of our higher courts. The recent decisions have affirmed that faith," he added. "What the appeals courts have done will bring what I call 'favorable consequences' to many deserving workers."
Kirk told me that the workers' compensation law needs a number of legislative changes. "Hopefully, the legislature will follow the lead of the courts and enact appropriate changes," Kirk said. "Working men and women have a number of friends in the legislature," he said. "My friends, Greg Stumbo and Hubert Collins, among others, want to fix the problem, but they need some help."
(NOTE: Story about previous awards from Administrative Law Judges are posted on KLF website.)