SARANAC LAKE — A Saranac Lake stuntwoman who had a protracted profession in Hollywood remains to be in the midst of a now-decade-long lawsuit together with her well being plan to get protection for on-set accidents.
In March, a court docket gave her case a carry, guaranteeing it continues by sending it again to a decrease court docket for reconsideration.
Hoffman’s lawsuit to get well being advantages has bounced round between courts for years. Judges have retired and died, dragging the case on even longer. She compares describing the case to untangling Christmas lights.
After she retired in 2002, she was recognized with a number of traumatic mind accidents and commenced amassing well being advantages from the lengthily named Display Actors Guild-American Federation of Tv and Radio Artists Pension and Well being Plan.
Twenty-five years of getting tackled, dropped on her head and tossed off boats — all with out a helmet — took a bodily toll. Hoffman compares this to how a soccer participant might not have one massive TBI-inducing hit, however an accumulation of smaller hits can, over time, trigger mind damage.
Trustees of this well being plan, which is separate from the SAG commerce union it bears the title of, fought her request for occupational incapacity pay. They claimed her TBIs weren’t suffered whereas engaged on film units and restricted her protection.
Hoffman sued the well being plan in 2010 beneath the federal Worker Retirement Earnings Safety Act.
Whereas this lawsuit dragged on, the SAG-AFTRA plan took away Hoffman’s pension, claiming she might work and had labored, and that she collected funds. She stated that is false.
Hoffman has been a stunt coordinator for fan movies in recent times, together with doing a little coordinating on units in Ticonderoga, the place there’s a reassembled set from the unique “Star Trek” sequence, however she stated she by no means did stunts herself or obtained paid.
“Nobody in a fan movie will get paid,” Hoffman stated.
After a second lawsuit, she obtained her pension again final 12 months. However the monetary injury had already been completed. She bought her California residence and possessions, moved again to Saranac Lake and now lives at an unbiased senior dwelling neighborhood, Saranac Village at Will Rogers.
The case remains to be ongoing and obtained a lift in Hoffman’s favor just lately when the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court docket of Appeals despatched the case again to a decrease court docket to be reconsidered. Hoffman hopes if the courts ultimately rule in her favor it could end in higher well being protection for her fellow stuntpeople.
“It might be fantastic if my case turned a first-time precedent-setting case,” Hoffman stated.
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