News Digest 11-29-2021


Pinnacol to lower workers’ comp premiums

Pinnacol Assurance has announced plans to lower rates an average of 11 percent for its more than 53,000 policyholders in Colorado. The decrease will be nearly double that for 2021. With decreases in each of the last seven years, rates have dropped a total of 40 percent. The company also announced plans to issue about $40 million in general dividends to customers in 2022. The Business Times


City preparing lawsuit against state of New York in fireman’s death

The city of Watertown, New York is preparing to file a lawsuit against the state in the death of a city fireman who died in March after having a medical emergency while training at the state fire academy in Montour Falls. The medical emergency occurred March 3 while he was using a self-contained breathing apparatus during training. NNY360


Pennsylvania high court rules employee was on the job at work-sponsored happy hour

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled a traveling salesman for a corporate apparel company was still eligible for workers’ compensation after he was injured in a car crash following a work-sponsored happy hour at a restaurant in 2015. A lower state court created the traveling employee doctrine, which says employees are given the benefit of the doubt that travel is part of work responsibilities, but this case is the first time the state’s Supreme Court has addressed the doctrine. Pittsburgh City Paper


Rhode Island governor makes picks for five nominees to fill vacant judge positions

Governor Dan McKee recently nominated five people to lifetime judgeships in Rhode Island state courts, including the state’s Workers’ Compensation Court. Providence Journal


South Dakota high court voids recreational pot law

The South Dakota Supreme Court last week upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a voter-backed cannabis law as unconstitutional. Approved by more than half of voters last year, the law regulated cultivation and sale of recreational cannabis to adults at least 21 years old. According to Governor Kristi Noem this ruling will not affect a separate ballot measure that legalized medical cannabis in the state last year. Courthouse News Service