WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REPORTS
DELAWARE PHYSICIAN’S WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CERTIFICATION REVOKED FOR FAILURE TO RESPOND TO SUBPOENA
Alleging a work injury, Claimant filed an initial Petition to Determine Compensation Due. Counsel for the Employer issued Requests for Production and Subpoenas to the Claimant’s primary care physician. There was no response from the primary care physician.
Counsel for the Employer obtained an Industrial Accident Board Order requiring the physician to respond to the Requests for Production and Subpoenas, specifically stating that if the physician did not comply with the Order, the physician’s workers’ compensation certification would be revoked. The physician nonetheless failed to respond.
A Legal Hearing was requested by the Employer due to the physician’s non-compliance with the Board Order. The Board revoked the physician’s Delaware Workers’ Compensation “certified provider” status. The Board also stayed the Petition indefinitely, finding that the Employer was unfairly prejudiced by the physician’s failure to comply with records requests, and should not have to evaluate issues of compensability and settlement without such records.
Maria Paris Newill and Gregory P. Skolnik, Attorneys for the Employer
Spraggs v. Christiana Care Health Services, IAB Hrg. No. 1403738 (July 23, 2015)(ORDER).
LITIGATION CASE LAW UPDATE
SUPERIOR COURT APPLIES STAYTON DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANTS MOTION TO LIMIT PLAINTIFF’S MEDICAL EXPENSES PAID BY MEDICARE
The recent Delaware Supreme Court decision in the matter of Stayton v. Delaware Health Corporation, et al., which bars the collateral source rule from being applied to Medicare-write off amounts, continues to bar Plaintiff windfalls in the Superior Court.
One such case is that brought by Dorothy Russum, who alleges injuries after a slip-and-fall. Defendant’s counsel filed a Motion to Limit Plaintiff’s Medical Expenses because all of Plaintiff’s treatment had been covered by Medicare.
The Court stayed the decision on Defendant’s motion until the Stayton opinion was released, after which Defendant’s motion was granted.
Of note however, is not just that Ms. Russum’s recovery is only limited to the amounts Medicare paid, but that her future medical expenses, if paid by Medicare, need to be determined. Defendants contended that future charges must “be reduced by the projected Medicare write-off.”
Plaintiff argued that “including any projected Medicare write-off reduction would result in impermissibility speculative alterations of damages.” The Court disagreed because Medicare write-offs are “set, fixed amounts.”
For further discussion of the above matter, or of the Stayton decision, please contact one of our Liability Department Attorneys.
Russum v. IPM Development Partnership and Silicato Commercial Realty, Inc. (July 15, 2015) (ORDER)
EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE
SUPERIOR COURT AFFIRMS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEALS BOARD DECISION OF DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE
Claimant Matthews was injured in a workplace accident and was put on a light duty, as needed schedule. Claimant was to call her employer daily to determine her work schedule for the following day. After Matthews ceased calling in for her schedule, she was discharged for not communicating with her employer as to her schedule.
Matthews filed a claim for unemployment benefits and was found to have been terminated without just cause. Subsequently, her employer filed an appeal to contest the Claims Deputy’s decision, which led to the Deputy’s decision being reversed.
Matthews filed an appeal of the Appeals Referee’s decision, and a notice of hearing was sent to her last known address on record. The notice contained clear language about the ramifications of failing to appear.
Claimant did not appear at her appeal hearing and explained that she made an attempt, but had incorrect directions. Her failure to appear led to the dismissal of her appeal by the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (UIAB).
Claimant appealed to the Superior Court who decided that because the Claimant failed to appear before the UIAB, she did not exhaust all administrative remedies available to her. Without the exhaustion of said remedies, the Superior Court lacks jurisdiction.
The Court, citing the matter of Cornell v. Candle Light Bridal, indicated that Claimant could have requested a rehearing with the UIAB; however, she made no such attempt.
Ultimately, the Court deemed Claimants confusion about the location of the hearing was not legally relevant, arguing that “as a matter of law, being ‘bad with directions’ is not excusable neglect for a party to miss a scheduled session.”
Matthews v. Don-Lee Margin Corp. and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (August 5, 2015)
The attorneys and staff of Heckler & Frabizzio congratulate Workers’ Compensation Partner Maria Paris Newill for her 25 years of service to the firm.
In the spirit of Maria’s community involvement, the firm donated $500.00 in her name to the Smyrna Opera House, an organization that Maria and her husband Jim ardently support.
The firm gathered on Thursday, August 13th to surprise Maria with a celebration of her achievement and for her continued hard work, service, and dedication to the firm.
Workers’ Compensation Department attorney John W. Morgan will be presenting at the National Business Institute Continuing Legal Education seminar “Handling the Workers’ Compensation Case from Start to Finish.”
This program will be offered on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Wilmington Downtown located at 700 King Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
For more information and to register, please visit the seminar’s registration page via NBI’s website.