Case name: Huntoon v. Borough of Clementon, No. A-0956-09T3 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 07/28/10, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that a clerk's claim for carpal tunnel syndrome was barred because it was not filed within two years after she knew of the condition and its relation to her employment.
What it means: In New Jersey, a claim must be filed within two years of the date the worker knew the nature of the disability and its relation to her employment. When a worker knew she had carpal tunnel syndrome for more than two years before filing her claim, the claim is barred.
Summary: A clerk developed tingling and numbness in her right hand in 1998. Her physician told her the condition was probably work-related because of the typing and constant hand movement in her job. Over the next six years, she was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome three times. She injured her hand and arm at work while trying to prevent files from falling from a drawer. She filed a claim for a repetitive motion injury. The parties disputed whether the statute of limitations barred the claim. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that the clerk's claim was time-barred.
The court stated that the statute of limitations is not a defense in workers' compensation cases. Rather, a claim must be timely filed for the court to retain jurisdiction over it. The clerk also argued that the statute of limitations did not begin to toll until the date of her last exposure. The court rejected her argument and stated that since the clerk knew the nature and extent of her disability in 2004 at the latest, her claim filed in 2007 was barred.
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November 1, 2010
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