USPS denies benefits to widow of postal worker who died after delayed 911 call

Samuel Macasieb

Workers’ Compensation attorney, George P. Surmaitis, with A Professional Law Corporation, recently attended a hearing for a U.S. postal worker’s widow in a highly controversial case regarding the death of postal worker Samuel Macasieb, who died inside the west Oakland processing and distribution center, one of the largest and busiest postal service facilities in California. According to the court documents, it is alleged that Macasieb suffered apparent head trauma that left him incapacitated; however, due to USPS policy, no one called 911 immediately. In the event of a medical emergency, a USPS employee is required to first find a supervisor, who then must contact postal police and ask them to call 911.

“Only the postal police are able to initiate the 911 procedure, and employees were not allowed to call 911 and policy wouldn’t allow police or medical professionals into the facility,” said Surmaitis, who is co-counsel with Cory A. Birnberg of Birnberg & Associates, representing the widow of Samuel Macasieb.

Following the incident, according to the court documents, the government denied federal benefits to Samuel’s widow, claiming it was not work-related, which Surmaitis is trying to rectify. Samuel worked for the USPS for 28 years, working the graveyard shift operating a letter-sorting machine. The recent hearing took place before a Hearing Representative of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) of the U.S. Department of Labor (Case No. 132315562).

“This type of hearing is informal, but the stakes are high for the family of Mr. Macasieb,” said Surmaitis. “The hearing office has allowed us a window of time to submit additional evidence and we hope that upon receipt of that evidence that we will be able to obtain a favorable outcome for Samuel’s widow.”

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