The Denver Post Features Attorney Brett Busch's Latest Oil Worker Case Victory
The Denver Post has published an in-depth look at Attorney Brett Busch's recent victory on behalf of Connie Freemyer, the widow of a Colorado oil worker. In the piece, "Colorado judge awards benefits from Weld County oil patch death," the paper highlights the thorough legal work that led to the victory, as well as the ruling's potential long-term effects on oil industry worker safety regulations.
In July 2014, Now or Never Trucking employee Jim Freemyer died performing a task called "tank gauging." While Now or Never Trucking and their workers' comp provider Pinnacol Assurance had tried to assert that Freemyer's prior health concerns lead to his death, Attorney Busch put forth another explanation: that Freemyer was killed by a deadly release of hydrocarbons from inside the tank he was servicing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now linked nine oil worker deaths to this phenomena—Mr. Freemyer's among them. Judge Peter Cannici heavily weighed the scientific evidence presented by Attorney Busch and ultimately ruled in favor of Connie Freemyer. She will now not only receive lifelong, weekly benefits, but also receive funds to offset funeral costs.
"They [the Freemyers] are grateful for Judge Cannici's careful and fair interpretation of the facts," Attorney Busch said after the decision, "which ultimately contradicted Now or Never Trucking and Pinnacol Assurance's defense that Mr. Freemyer died from natural causes."
A Question of Protocol
The defense in this case not only called Mr. Freemyer's medical history into question, but also alleged that he had violated safety procedures. However, the truth is that proper procedures for safely avoiding hydrocarbon exposure were not in place at the time of Freemyer's death: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only issued a national warning of the hazard last April. "Had those allegations been successful, Mrs. Freemyer's benefits would have been cut by 50 percent," Busch told The Denver Post.
Beyond Connie Freemyer's case, many involved are hoping that this victory will help improve oil worker safety across the entire industry. Pinnacol Assurance has decided not to appeal the case, but instead released a statement announcing a new focus on worker safety. Attorney Busch also shared his hopes for a greater oil worker safety awareness: "I think the big picture here is not whether more claims will be brought," he said, "but hopefully less claims will exist because of better safety protocol."
Have you been hurt on the job and been denied workers' comp benefits? If so, Busch Law Offices is ready to hear from you. Our dedicated and proven Loveland workers' compensation attorneys are committed to assisting injured workers recover the relief they deserve following an accident. We can ensure that your voice is heard and that any effort aimed at minimizing your rights as a worker is aggressively countered.
Trust your case to representation capable of securing results. Contact our firm today.