Occupational Exposures

Mold Exposure at Florida Courthouse

Approximately 300 occupants of Florida's Polk County Courthouse sued for alleged indoor environmental exposures. ICTM evaluated all of the medical records and the environmental data. We then arranged and coordinated, at a University medical center, IME's for 150 of the claimants. Over a period of three weeks, each claimant was seen and tested by a pulmonologist, a physician toxicologist, a neuropsychologist and an immunologist. ICTM created a database of all of the results in order to analyze all of the data, diagnoses, and findings in order to perform medical causation analysis. As a result of our intense and thorough evaluation, we determined that of the 150 individuals, only three individuals had potential transient problems, such as allergy symptoms or irritative effects related to the building's water intrusion problems and associated mold exposures. The case was settled for a nominal amount.

Metal-washing Fluid-Induced Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

One hundred employees at a brake manufacturing plant sued their employer because of alleged respiratory illnesses they claimed were the result of exposure to metal-washing fluids. Local physicians had treated three employees diagnosed with pneumonia, two of whom had been hospitalized. A local pulmonologist who examined all three claimants, later decided that, since they all worked at the same metalworking facility, something at work had caused their lung problem that he labeled a hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This physician then visited the plant and interviewed several employees, sharing his belief about the cause of the workers' recent illnesses. Soon there were many employees complaining of respiratory symptoms, seeking medical care and filing claims.

ICTM was retained to perform an objective evaluation of the causation alleged. We investigated the facility and the various locations and job duties of asymptomatic, healthy workers, as well as ill and symptomatic workers. We reviewed all of the following:

  • Employment records
  • Medical records,
  • Exposure data and reports,
  • Industrial hygiene data, and
  • Testimony of opposing experts

ICTM arranged for Independent Medical Evaluations to be performed on the claimants to confirm the alleged medical diagnoses. The evaluations confirmed that there was no relationship between illnesses, symptoms, job duties, exposures, or areas of the work facility. Careful analysis of their medical records and diagnostic testing revealed no objective support for the diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also investigated, performing a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) of the facility and its employees. Their conclusion matched that of ICTM.

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