Hawaii Supreme Court approves Workman's Compensation for vog victimUPDATED 7:16 PM HST Jan 24, 2014Video Transcript
for a lot of people... but for some... it might also be the basis for a workman's comp claim! That's what The Hawaii Supreme Court said in a ruling that could have a big ripple effect! KITV-4's Andrew Pereira goes in-depth ... Andrew? Kenny, Yunji... The ruling is likely to have broad implications for both government and private-sector workers in Hawaii. van ness fs path: O:GraphicsNEW SGFX2 014January24 - FridayVan Ness FS page tear quote path: O:GraphicsNEWSGFX2 014January24 - FridayVog Tear Quote Vog can make for gorgeous sunsets... But it can also do a number on your lungs ... A former state worker is about to start receiving workman's comp because breathing vog on the job made his asthma worse. The Hawaii Supreme Court issued the ruling Thursday. ELIZABETH JUBIN FUJIWARA: "I THINK IT'S UNUSUAL IN THE SENSE THAT IT'S SO CLEAR AND IN FAVOR OF THE WORKERS." The case involves Lynedon Van Ness, who's 54 years old. He's a former DOE Worker at Lahainaluna High School on Maui, who's now Living on the Mainland. He filed a workers' compensation claim in September, 2007 after claiming vog made his asthma significantly worse from October, 2005 through April, 2006. Van Ness says he worked mostly outside since he had to go from classroom to classroom to service computers. Van Ness said, " basically reduced the amount of air I was able to breathe." DR. RONALD KURODA: "THOSE PEOPLE ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THEIR LUNGS TO BEGIN WITH, BUT BEING OUTSIDE WITH THE VOG AND THE IRRITABILITY, MAKES THEM MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO HAVING ATTACKS OF THEIR ASTHMA." Even though other Maui residents were breathing the same vog as Van Ness, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in his favor because of the nature of his employment. ELIZABETH JUBIN FUJIWARA: "IT'S VERY, VERY CLEAR THAT ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS SOME TYPE OF EXACERBATION." ANDREW PEREIRA: "STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL DAVID LOUIE TOLD THE HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER THAT VAN NESS' CASE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO OTHER EMPLOYEES OR EMPLOYERS. HOWEVER THE LABOR ATTORNEYS WE SPOKE TO SAID THAT'S NOT THE CASE." ELIZABETH JUBIN FUJIWARA: ALL YOU NEED IS FOR THE INJURY TO HAVE FLOWED FROM THE WORK CONDITION, OR THE DISEASE TO HAVE FLOWED FROM THE WORK CONDITION. THAT'S ALL YOU NEED." JOSEPH ROSENBAUM: "I THINK THE COURT IS CLEARLY STATING THAT VOG IS THIS FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCE CAN GIVE RISE TO A WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM WHEN IT EXACERBATES A CONDITION." The Hawaii Supreme court ordered the Labor Industrial Relations Appeals Board to pay Van Ness' claim. We reached out to his attorney, but did not get a call back. The Ag's office issued a response to our inquiry just about 10 minutes ago, saying it's the unique circumstances of Van Ness' case that led to the high court's decision. Yunji, Kenny?