Case Law Update: Q1 2023

MISSOURI WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
LEGISLATIVE, REGULATORY, JUDICIAL UPDATES
QUARTER 1/2023

MILEAGE RATE:

The mileage reimbursement rate from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 is $0.59.5 per mile.

PPD AND TTD RATE:

The rates from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 are $1,160.17 for TTD and PTD and $607.71 for PPD.

LEGISLATION:

There has not been any significant legislation this quarter.

JUDICIAL:

Maryann Gray, Respondent/Cross Appellant vs. Hawthorn Children’s Psychiatric Hospital/State of Missouri, Appellant/Cross Respondent, and Treasurer of the State of Missouri, as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund, Additional Party/Cross-Respondent (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED110400)

  • USPS Determination on Postage Controls

Statues allow review of an administrative law judge’s decision before the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission upon an application filed timely, defined by timely receipt or timely postmark, neither of which claimant had.  Workers’ compensation statutes are subject to strict construction, and strict construction allows no exception that is not expressed.  A United States Postal Service sticker, stating that the Commission refused deliver for postage due, outweighs claimant’s evidence that postage was sufficient.  Without timely filing, the Commission has no authority to review the application.

Thomas Dubuc, Appellant vs. Treasurer of the State of Missouri – Custodian of the Second Injury Fund, Respondent (Supreme Court of Missouri – SC99605)

  • New Standard Did Not Render Evidence Newly Relevant

Statute governing Second Injury Fund Liability required claimant to show a previous condition that was medically documented, which did not include claimant’s own analysis, so a record of what claimant said about claimant’s condition was inadmissible even if found in a physician’s record.  Claimant also had to show that the previous condition exacerbated the primary condition and claimant did not make that showing.  An appellate court’s remand for the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission “to make additional factual findings” did not authorize the Commission to take additional evidence.  A regulation of the Commission allowed additional evidence if reasonable diligence could not have uncovered such evidence earlier, and the elements of the claim were unsettled before remand, but that did not bar claimant from presenting evidence under alternative theories before remand.

James Swafford, Appellant vs. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of Second Injury Fund, Respondent. (Supreme Court of Missouri – SC99563)

  • Commission Determines Credibility and Weight

Appellate courts defer to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determinations on the credibility and on the weight of the evidence.  In an action against the Second Injury Fund, statute required claimant to show a previous injury that exacerbated the primary injury.  The Commission did not err in determining that uncontradicted and unimpeached testimony was “vaguely worded” and “fall[s] short of establishing” an element of appellant’s claim.

Gary M. Weibrecht, Appellant, vs. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of Second Injury Fund, Respondent. (Supreme Court of Missouri – SC99493)

  • ALJ Need Not to Re-Open Record

A regulation of the Labor and Industrial Commission allowed an administrative law judge to re-open the record for good cause, but good cause did not include an unsettled state of the law as to the elements of a claim against the Second Injury Fund during the evidentiary hearing on the claim, because the unsettled state of the law did not bar claimant from presenting the evidence under alternative theories.

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Case Law Update Q1 2023