The question of a sedentary desk job versus an individual’s health factors marked a case between AT&T and the husband of an obese woman who was awarded workman’s compensation benefits after her death.
Cathleen Renner had been working overnight to finish a project in her home office in Edison, where she worked three of five days each week.
The Courier Post reports Renner died in 2007 from a blood clot that formed in her leg and moved to her lung. Renner’s husband filed the workers’ compensation claim, saying the clot formed while his wife was working at her desk.
AT&T said that Renner had an enlarged heart and weighed over 300 pounds, which caused restricted blood flow, according to an AT&T medical expert. She had also recently started taking birth control pills, which increased her risk factor.
The appellate court ruled that since doctors agreed that the clot most likely formed during the overnight hours when Renner was working, there was sufficient evidence to award the workers’ compensation.
Clots in the leg can form when someone does not move around for a long period, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. The institute says most pulmonary embolisms start off as a blood clot in the leg, which breaks free from the vein and moves through the blood to the lungs, where it can block an artery.
Gerald Rotella, from the workers’ compensation committee for the New Jersey State Bar Association, told NJ.com the facts in the case are so specific that its effect on future workers’ compensation rulings is not clear.