LANGUAGE

McLaurin v. City of Pontiac

A police officer sought worker's compensation from the City of Pontiac for the deterioration of a preexisting lung condition, which he claimed was aggravated by inhalation of various pollutants, including environmental tobacco smoke from a fellow officer during his sixteen years of employment.  A magistrate judge found sufficient evidence to support the alleged deterioration of the plaintiff's lung condition and ordered the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for "reasonable and necessary medical expenses." The Workers Compensation Appellate Commission (WCAC) affirmed that judgment. The defendant appealed, claiming that the WCAC went beyond its authority when it made a finding that the double lung transplant that the plaintiff eventually underwent (as opposed to the mere aggravation of a preexisting condition), was work related.  The State of Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the WCAC, finding that the commission had applied a proper standard for evaluating the available evidence establishing the link between the exposure to workplace cigarette smoke and the aggravation of the plaintiff's lung disease.