Court Finds Inactivity Due to Work Led to Employee Death

June 29, 2011 ( – A New Jersey court has ruled that an AT&T manager who died from a blood clot is entitled to workers compensation survivor benefits.

Business Insurance reports that the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division said it had to determine whether the woman’s lack of movement at work “was more severe than her lack of movement in her daily living, and whether the inactivity at work caused her pulmonary embolism in a material way.” In affirming a workers comp judge’s decision, the court ruled that sufficient, credible evidence to support the finding that prolonged inactivity while working caused the pulmonary embolism by a material degree.  

According to Business Insurance, the case of James P. Renner vs. AT&T stems from the death of 25-year-old Cathleen Renner, who worked from home and “worked all hours of the day and night” to meet deadlines imposed by her employer, court records state. One day she called 911 because she could not breathe and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.   

A medical expert for James Renner said that sitting for an extended period probably led to the formation of blood clots and contributed to Ms. Renner’s death, although he acknowledged she had other risk factors, such as obesity. A medical expert for the defense said that a combination of risk factors contributed to her pulmonary embolism, but he also admitted that it would have been less likely for her to suffer from a pulmonary embolism had she not worked that day, according to court records, the news report said.