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Kimberly-Clark must pay death benefits to worker’s widow

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied a Kimberly-Clark Corp. petition to appeal a decision awarding death benefits to a widow whose husband’s death was caused by exposure to chemicals in the workplace.

The state Supreme Court gave no insight to why it upheld the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board’s May decision affirming a judge’s ruling in favor of Sharon R. Bromley’s petition for death benefits, according to the order issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday.

The appeal board considered two issues in its decision: whether Ms. Bromley met her burden under Section 301(c)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act of proving that her husband Donald J. Bromley's injury and/or death were caused by exposure to chemicals in the employer's workplace, and whether the workers compensation judge issued a reasoned decision, which the appeal board affirmed.

Mr. Bromley was employed as one of Kimberly-Clark’s Chester, Pennsylvania, plant electricians from 1973 to 2005, during which time he was exposed to various chemicals used in production, according to the appeal board’s decision. In the summer of 2005, Mr. Bromley was diagnosed with metastatic bladder cancer, which caused his death in June 2006.

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.