Case of 21-year-old's heart attack goes back for insurance review

The case of a 21-year-old whose insurance claim was denied after a heart attack will go back to the appeals officer for review.

The Nevada Supreme Court reversed the ruling by Clark County District Judge James Mahan who denied a petition for judicial review in the case.

Brandon Smeltzer was a 21-year-old auto painter who suffered the heart attack after inhaling paint fumes through a defective respirator.

But Employers Insurance Company of Nevada denied him benefits, saying heart attacks aren't covered by the Nevada Industrial Insurance Act.

A judge agreed and refused judicial review.

But the Nevada Supreme Court said Thursday that law was aimed at heart attacks resulting from a preexisting condition - not something caused by a work-place exposure.

The court said Smeltzer is an otherwise healthy young man with no heart problems in his history who doesn't even smoke. The court sent the case back to the appeals officer with instructions to determine if Smeltzer's injury was caused by toxic paint fumes.

And the court ordered that if such is the case he is entitled to compensation.


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