The Federal Office of Workers’ Compensation says there’s not enough evidence to establish what led to the fatal injury of the worker, a 28-year-veteran of the United States Postal Service.
By Vicky Nguyen, Liz Wagner and Felipe Escamilla
December 14, 2015
An East Bay widow whose husband died after he sustained a serious injury at work is fighting for tens of thousands of dollars in benefits she believes the government owes her.
Twice Larnie Macasieb filed claims with the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs after her husband Sam died. Twice the office denied her petitions, even though her husband suffered a major injury during his shift at an Oakland postal facility. Macasieb plans to file another appeal next year.
Macasieb’s attorneys say the United States Postal Service has the burden of proving her husband’s injuries were not work-related. But the government ruled, because no one saw what happened, there is no way to know how Macasieb’s husband sustained his injury.
That conflict is at the heart of this case. Macasieb says her husband was injured at work. The government says there is not enough evidence to prove what happened. Records show postal service personnel blocked law enforcement from the facility, rendering them unable to conduct an investigation….
“It seemed to me in some ways the judge was looking for a means to deny the case rather than considering the common sense factors of what happened,” Birnberg said. “You find someone in the workplace on the floor, bleeding from their head. They work with machinery. They work at a height unjamming machines. We have a type of fracture that only comes from high impact.”