|WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REPORTSBOARD FINDS CLAIMANT NOT CREDIBLE AND REJECTS CLAIMANT’S ALLEGATIONS OF VARIOUS WORKPLACE INJURIES
The claimant alleged an October 13, 2014 work accident with injuries to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, bilateral shoulders as well as ongoing total disability and medical treatment. He claimed that these injuries occurred while carrying an 80lb bag of salt at work. The bag slipped and he bent over to attempt to catch the bag before it hit the ground, upon which claimant experienced immediate pain and was unable to stand up. He said that he took a break and then went back to work.
The Board found the claimant’s story suspect. No co-workers noticed that the claimant dropped the bag, was unable to stand up, and had to leave the work line. The entire work line would have been affected if the claimant left. The claimant testified that he told numerous co-workers about the incident immediately after it occurred, but the same co-workers testified that the claimant did not report any incident. The incident was reported days later, but only arm complaints were made.
The claimant continued to work for several days after the alleged incident. He only alleged total disability after he began having disciplinary and performance problems. The claimant sought treatment from multiple providers, at times simultaneously, resulting in duplicate prescriptions. He seemed to seek new providers once drug screens were contemplated, or actually performed. His drug screens showed that he was not taking his medications. It was also suspected that the claimant was altering prescriptions.
The claimant had recently been released from a 10+ year prison sentence for armed robbery and drug convictions. The claimant testified that he was completely recovered from prior accidents before the work accident, when his medical records documented that he was actually actively treating for several orthopedic injuries before the alleged work accident. The Employer’s medical expert testified that the claimant’s condition did not appear to change following the alleged work accident.
The Board found the claimant to be incredible, and accepted the Employer’s medical expert opinion. Therefore, the Board held that no work accident occurred, and, even if any incident had taken place, there was no change in the claimant’s condition as the result of his employment.
Maria Paris Newill, Attorney for the Employer
Terrance Stokes v. Lyneer Staffing, IAB Hrg. No. 1421064 (May 26, 2015).
|LITIGATION CASE LAW UPDATESUPERIOR COURT UPHOLDS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION EXCLUSIVITY IN WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM ARISING FROM WORKPLACE TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
Citing the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act, the Superior Court dismissed plaintiffs’ claim arising out of a traffic fatality that occurred during the course and scope of the decedent’s employment, as “workers compensation is the exclusive remedy for ‘personal injury or death arising out of and in the course of employment, regardless of the question of negligence.'”
The Court also clarified that in order to entertain an exception to the “exclusivity provision” of the Workers’ Compensation Act the plaintiffs “must allege specific, intentional tortuous conduct,” which they did not allege.
Plaintiffs’ appeal to the Wrongful Death Act failed due to the “exclusivity provision” and because of precedent in Lovett v. Chenney, wherein the Court classified that a wrongful death claim is a derivative claim. Since, the plaintiffs’ were already barred from making a claim by the workers’ compensation “exclusivity provision” in 19 Del. C. § 2304, their ability to make a derivative claim was moot.
Stigler v. Jackson and Grubb Lumber Company (June 4, 2015)
|EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATESUPERIOR COURT AFFIRMS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD’S DECISION TO PUT THE BRAKES ON CLAIMANT’S APPEAL FOR BENEFITS
The Superior Court affirmed the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board’s (UIAB) Decision to deem claimant ineligible for unemployment benefits due a medical condition impairing claimant’s ability to work.
Claimant was a commercial truck driver who was unable to pass the medical examination necessary to renew his Delaware CDL-class license. Although his employer offered him a non-CDL driving position, claimant could not agree to work for a lower wage and Claimant’s medical condition impeded his ability to work.
At claimant’s Appeals hearing on July 14, 2014, the Referee determined that claimant was unemployed pursuant to 19 Del. C. §3302(17); however, the Board found that the claimant was not eligible to receive benefits due to his medical condition pursuant to 19 Del. C. §3315(3).
Claimant appealed the Board’s decision to the Superior Court for review upon which the Superior Court found that the board did not err because claimant did not show that he was able to work. In fact, the Board had solid evidence to support its position, as claimant, in communications with the Delaware Department of Labor, reported that he was totally disabled. In addition, claimant’s treating physician reported to the Department of Labor that claimant was unable to perform his job duties.
For further discussion of the above case, please contact one of our Employment Law Group Attorneys.
George Huber, Jr., v. Bayshore Ford Truck Sales and Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (June 5, 2015)
|ANNOUNCEMENTSNew Liability Department Associate
Heckler & Frabizzio welcomes Michael W. Mitchell as an associate attorney in the Liability Department. Prior to joining the firm, Michael practiced as a criminal law attorney in Annapolis, Maryland.
Michael earned his B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University in 2006, graduating cum laude; his M.B.A. in Finance from Wilmington University in 2007; and his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 2010. He is admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
Michael resides in Newark, Delaware with his wife, Jessica, and two rescue dogs, Alden and Wesley. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Seminoles, and beach days.