Go-Mart manager denied Workers' Comp for alleged benzene exposure

By Nathan Bass | Feb 26, 2013

CHARLESTON – In a Feb. 20 opinion, the state Supreme Court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Board of Review’s decision denying benefits to a Go-Mart manager who alleged she suffered health damages from her on-the-job exposure to benzene.

The unanimous opinion came in a memorandum decision with no justice claiming authorship.

Rebecca Civitillo alleged she suffered exposure to Benzene while she was a retail manager for Go-Mart, Inc. The contact with the chemical caused, “headaches, cough, chronic ear infections, upper respiratory infection, sleeplessness, fever, chronic fatigue, and several other symptoms,” according to Civitillo.

The claims administrator denied her request for Workers’ Compensation benefits on Jan. 23, 2007. The Office of Judges, agreeing with the claims administrator, concluded that Civitillo did not prove by the preponderance of the evidence that she had suffered “an occupational exposure which resulted in an occupational disease as a result of her employment.”

“The Office of Judges noted that a report by Enviroprobe found that the results of an evaluation for benzene exposure were less than 1 percent of the OSHA permissible exposure level," the decision says. "It further noted that Ms. Civitillo had previously stated that the symptoms began when she received a lumbar epidural.

“The evidence does not establish that Ms. Civitillo suffers from an occupational disease under West Virginia Code § 23-4-1(f) (2008). The Board of Review reached the same reasoned conclusions in its decision of May 4, 2011. We agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the Board of Review.

“For the foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is affirmed.”

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