Reinisch Wilson Weier PC Workers' Compensation Defense and Employment Law

Hanford presumption law in Washington upheld

By Casondra Albrecht, Aug 27, 2020

We previously brought you news regarding the 2018 Washington law that created a presumption of causation of an occupational disease for workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Under this law, if a person who worked at least one shift at Hanford develops any number of illnesses known to be linked to exposure to chemical gases used there, there is an assumption the worker became ill because of that exposure. (Click here to read the 2018 blog.)

The federal government challenged the law, arguing it violates “intergovernmental immunity.” This is a legal doctrine that prevents states from regulating federal operations or property. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and denied the Trump administration’s appeal. In the ruling upholding the Washington law, the Court cited an act of Congress from 1937. This gave the states broad authority to apply their workers’ compensation laws to injured workers on federal projects.

Thus, the law stands. These cases continue to be granted the presumption, and claims are handled similarly to those filed by firefighters. If you have any questions regarding this development, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Reinisch Wilson Weier PC.



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