Articles Posted in Employment Law

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Gregory Murphy suffered two work-related injuries in 2001 and 2006 while working for Packaging Corporation of America (PCA). Murphy received temporary-total-disability for the 2001 claim, and after his second injury occurred in 2006, Murphy received temporary-total-disability compensation for the 2006 claim. In 2010, the day after compensation ended for the 2006 claim, Murphy filed a second request for temporary-total-disability compensation. The Industrial Commission granted temporary-total-disability benefits. PCA filed a complaint for writ of mandamus in the court of appeals. The court of appeals denied the writ, concluding that the Commission’s order was based on some evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it awarded temporary-total-disability compensation.View "State ex rel. Packaging Corp. of Am. v. Indus. Comm’n " on Justia Law

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Between 1996 and 2003, Appellant filed several workers’ compensation claims, which were allowed for certain conditions. Appellant subsequently filed two applications for permanent-total-disability compensation. The Industrial Commission denied the applications, relying in part on the report of Dr. Lee Howard, a psychologist, who determined that Appellant could perform work without significant limitations. Appellant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus, arguing that the Commission abused its discretion when it relied on Dr. Howard’s report because the report was stale. The court of appeals denied the writ, determining that Dr. Howard’s report was relevant evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it relied on Dr. Howard’s report in denying permanent-total-disability compensation.View "State ex rel. Bailey v. Indus. Comm’n" on Justia Law

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Robert Sheppard was injured while working for Employer. After Sheppard retired, he filed an application for permanent-total-disability (PTD) compensation, which a staff hearing officer granted. Employer filed a request for reconsideration on the basis that the staff hearing officer’s order contained mistakes of fact and law. After a hearing, the Industrial Commission issued an order confirming that the staff hearing officer’s order contained a clear mistake of law and denying the underlying request for PTD compensation. Sheppard filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus alleging that the Commission abused its discretion when it exercised continuing jurisdiction and denied PTD compensation. The court of appeals denied the writ, concluding (1) the staff hearing officer’s mistake of law was sufficient for the Commission to invoke its continuing jurisdiction; and (2) once the Commission properly invoked its continuing jurisdiction, it had authority to reconsider the issue of PTD compensation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the staff hearing officer made a mistake of law justifying the exercise of continuing jurisdiction; and (2) the Commission’s continuing jurisdiction vested it with authority to issue a new order denying PTD compensation.View "State ex rel. Sheppard v. Indus. Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Robert Corlew was an employee of Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. when he was injured while working. Honda’s long-term-disability insurance carrier eventually determined that Corlew was not eligible for ongoing disability benefits because he was capable of gainful employment outside of Honda. Corlew subsequently retired because there was no position available at Honda. One year later, Corlew underwent surgery on his wrist. The Industrial Commission awarded temporary-total-disability (TTD) compensation to be paid during Corlew’s postsurgical recovery, concluding that Corlew had not voluntarily retired or abandoned the workforce. The court of appeals denied Honda’s request for a writ of mandamus, concluding that Corlew’s retirement was due to his industrial injury, and thus was involuntary, and that there was no evidence that Corlew had abandoned the entire workforce. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Corlew was eligible for TTD compensation even though he suffered no economic loss that could be directly attributed to his industrial injury.View "State ex rel. Honda of Am. Mfg., Inc. v. Indus. Comm’n" on Justia Law

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Appellant was injured when he fell from a ladder as he was working on a billboard in the course and scope of his employment with Employer. Appellant sought an award for violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR), alleging that Employer had violated several safety rules, resulting in his injury. The Industrial Commission denied the award. Appellant subsequently filed an action in mandamus in the court of appeals, requesting that the Commission be ordered to grant him the VSSR award. The magistrate of the court of appeals and a three-judge panel determined that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in denying the award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission (1) properly considered evidence of the industry standards in determining whether Appellant’s ladder and harness equipment complied with the law; (2) correctly concluded that a hook ladder, when properly secured, can be part of a billboard structure; and (3) properly considered Appellant’s negligence in deciding to deny a VSSR award.View "State ex rel. Richmond v. Indus. Comm’n" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Appellant injured her lower back while working for Employer, who was self-insured. Later that year, Employer discharged Appellant for violating the company’s absenteeism policy and failing to accept the light-duty work offered. The Industrial Commission denied Appellant’s request for temporary total disability (TTD) compensation, concluding that Appellant had abandoned her employment and that the abandonment barred payment of TTD compensation. Three and a half years after the denial of benefits, Appellant filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus. The appellate court denied the writ, concluding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it denied Appellant’s request for TTD benefits, as her conduct had amounted to a voluntary abandonment of employment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it denied Appellant’s request for compensation, as the Commission’s order was supported by the evidence. View "State ex rel. Jacobs v. Indus. Comm’n" on Justia Law