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Washington State Beats Federal Challenge Over Workers’ Comp Law

Aug. 19, 2020, 8:29 PM

A Washington state law that presumes certain conditions and cancers are occupational diseases for federal cleanup workers at a decommissioned federal nuclear production site doesn’t violate the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity, the Ninth Circuit said Wednesday.

The Department of Energy has overseen cleanup at Hanford, a site that produced weapons grade plutonium for use in the U.S. nuclear program during World War II and the Cold War, since 1989. A 2018 amendment to Washington’s workers’ compensation scheme applies exclusively to private contractors and subcontractors who perform cleanup work at the site. The law’s presumption is rebuttable only by clear and ...