Employer Law Report

Tag Archives: workers’ compensation

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Subrogation Statutes Upheld

The Ohio Supreme Court just paved the way for employers to recoup workers’ compensation benefits paid to employees who later recover money damages for their injuries from other sources. By endorsing such so-called subrogation rights, the Court provides employers with an important cost-control tool. Employers should, therefore, keep their eyes open for subrogation opportunities and act quickly to take advantage of them.

In its latest review of the Ohio legislature’s effort to provide subrogation rights to those who pay workers’ compensation benefits, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the subrogation statute finally passes constitutional muster. The Court reached its finding in Groch v.

State-Fund Employer Left Holding the Bag for Unwanted Settlement

A recent appellate decision demonstrates the necessity for state-fund employers to retain legal counsel to protect their interests when a workers’ compensation claim is appealed to state court. In Smith v. Kaleal, 2007-Ohio-6560, (11th Dist. Lake County), the claimant, Christopher Smith, filed a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, Dan Kaleal, owner of All Occasion Limousine, Inc. Smith’s claim was denied administratively by the Industrial Commission of Ohio, and he filed a notice of appeal and complaint in the Lake County Court of Common Pleas naming both the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and Kaleal as defendants.  …

Industrial Commission Rejects Affidavit Testimony

The Ohio Supreme Court recently decided State ex rel. Nerlinger v. AJR Enterp., Inc., 116 Ohio St. 3d 314, 2007-Ohio-6438, a potentially significant new workers’ compensation opinion that addresses the Industrial Commission’s ability to accept or reject affidavit testimony. The injured employee failed to appear for his allowance hearing before the IC, and his claim was denied. Fourteen months later, the employee – now represented by counsel – filed a motion for reconsideration, attaching an affidavit saying that he did not receive the hearing notice. The IC, without making any express findings about the credibility of the employee’s affidavit, found that the notices …

A Disconcerting Look Behind the Industrial Commission’s Curtain

In its Sunday, February 4, 2008, edition, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Industrial Commission, "a forgotten corner of the state bureaucracy that deals with injured workers’ claims," was experiencing an unusually large number of grievances filed by its OCSEA-represented employees. According to the article, the grievances cover a wide range of issues including personal ones, such as the denial of bereavement leave, to issues that more fundamentally address the Commission’s claims handling process. As for the latter category, the article quotes a grievance from a union steward that suggests that the Commission has established "arbitrary quota[s]" that "sacrifice the quality of [Commission employees’] …

Crack-Cocaine Enterprise is Sustained Remunerative Employment

Even in the chaotic world of Ohio workers’ compensation, crime still doesn’t pay – at least not for one enterprising Ohio claimant. Finding that the sale of crack cocaine over a three-year timeframe amounted to an exchange of labor for pay over a sustained period, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Industrial Commission’s determination that an injured worker was not entitled to permanent total disability compensation.   In reaching this rather obvious conclusion in State ex rel. Lynch v. Indus. Comm., 2007-Ohio-6668, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the injured worker’s inspired argument that his activity could not be considered sustained remunerative employment …

Recent Ohio Supreme Court Decision Represents Key Victory for Ohio Employers

On December 20, 2007, the Supreme Court of Ohio released its decision in Bickers v. Western & Southern Life Insurance Company, which expressly limits the Court’s previous holding in Coolidge v. Riverdale Local School District. In Coolidge, the Supreme Court held that an employer could not terminate an employee who was receiving temporary total disability compensation on the basis of absenteeism or inability to work, when the absence or inability to work is directly related to an allowed medical condition in his or her workers’ compensation claim. 

As a result of the Coolidge decision, many Ohio employers were …