In the News
Lee + Kinder LLC was named by U.S. News & World Report and Woodward/White as a Metropolitan Tier 1 Best Law Firm 2016 in the field of Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers.
Member Joshua Brown and Of Counsel Frank Cavanaugh successfully filed for Summary Judgment in favor of their client, Scottsdale Insurance Company, in a complicated bad faith and breach of contract case. Scottsdale was a third level excess insurer for a general contractor. After a year of litigation in the Federal District Court of Colorado, Scottsdale was added as a party. Plaintiff settled with numerous other defendant carriers, leaving Scottsdale as the remaining defendant to the litigation. The bad faith claim against Scottsdale was dismissed, leaving only a breach of contract claim. For procedural reasons, Scottsdale had only days to file both an Answer and a Motion for Summary Judgment in the weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to commence. Mr. Brown and Mr. Cavanaugh filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing Scottsdale’s excess policy had not been triggered as the underlying policies from the other carriers had not been exhausted; the other carriers had settled but failed to pay out their policy limits. The Judge agreed with Scottsdale’s position and granted Summary Judgment.
Member Karen Gail Treece and Associate Jessica Melson successfully defended Claimant’s appeal in Satchell v Coach America and American Home Assurance Company, W.C. No. 4-825-725 (ICAO May 28, 2015). In this claim, Claimant suffered an admitted knee injury. The DIME physician opined Claimant had reached MMI. Claimant sought to overcome the determination of MMI and alleged she also injured her low back in the original injury. ALJ Jones determined Claimant failed to overcome the DIME and that the low back was not causally related to the original claim. Claimant appealed. ICAO affirmed the ALJ’s Order.
History of Workers’ Compensation Law: Part II: The Rise of Workers’ Compensation Coverage
This second segment, of the three part series on the history of workers’ compensation law, briefly summarizes how the industrial revolution fueled the workers’ compensation system. The first resemblances of workers’ compensation insurance coverage primarily arose because of increased revolutionized industrial practices and socialist schisms in European political ideals. Around the 1860s, the industrial revolution was beginning to take hold in Europe; the American Industrial Revolution area would steam forward in the later part of the 1800s. Industrial imperial countries, specifically Germany, wrestled with growing the economics of their respective country while continuing to expand their empires. To achieve these goals, political leaders were required to balance the progressive social worker-centered ideals and traditional conservative business goals. Click here to continue reading this article
Cases You Should Know
CRPS You Have; Compensable It Is Not.
In Amy Gordon v. Ross Stores, Inc., W.C. 4-878-759 (ICAO, August 20, 2015), Respondents initially admitted compensability and Claimant underwent authorized surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome (“CTS”). A DIME determined Claimant’s CTS was not work related, and the CTS surgery caused chronic regional pain syndrome (“CRPS”). ICAO held that Claimant’s CRPS was not compensable under the quasi-course of employment doctrine because it was not the “direct and natural” consequence of an original compensable condition. Moral of the Story: Employers often provide medical treatment then later contest compensability of an injury—mere admission that an injury occurred cannot be construed as a concession that all subsequent conditions and treatment were caused by the work injury.
DIME Got You At MMI? Don’t Delay, Endorse PTD Today!
In David Weibel v. The Kroger Company, W.C. 4-878-425 (ICAO, September 22, 2015), Respondents filed an Application for Hearing to overcome the DIME’s impairment rating, and Claimant responded endorsing multiple issues, but not Permanent Total Disability (“PTD”). Respondents subsequently filed a Final Admission of Liability and Claimant timely objected, applying for hearing on the issue of PTD. ICAO held the PTD claim was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion because Claimant failed to endorse PTD when responding to Respondents’ application on the issue of permanent impairment. Moral of the Story: Claim preclusion bars re-litigation of matters that have already been decided as well as matters that could have been raised in a prior proceeding but were not.
Farmers Sure Work Hard But They Are Not Statutory Employers.
In Juan Galdamez v. Jose Enriquez, W.C. 4-897-023-03 (ICAO, August 17, 2015), Respondents’ Motion for Summary Judgment to deny Claimant’s claim against Schneider Farms as a statutory employer was upheld. Schneider Farms hired Jose Enriquez to clean irrigation ditches. Mr. Enriquez in turn hired Claimant. Claimant attempted to move some metal pipes in the field, when they came into contact with power lines and Claimant was injured by electrical current. Claimant filed suit against both Enriquez (direct employer) and Schneider (statutory employer). C.R.S. §8-41-401(1)(a) provides an agricultural exemption to statutory liability and therefore, Schneider Farms was not the statutory employer in this case. Moral of the Story: The agricultural exemption statute places an obligation on the party contracted by the farm or agricultural entity to obtain and maintain compensation insurance for farm or ranch labor. The farm is not required to demand or obtain a certificate of insurance from its hired contractor.
Location, Location, Location: ATP Shopping When An ATP Changes Facilities.
In William Benton v. Lowe Enterprises, Inc., W.C. 4-903-810-04 (ICAO, September 14, 2015),. Claimant initially treated at a Concentra in Thornton, Colorado with Dr. Nystrom. Dr. Nystrom eventually moved his practice to the Concentra in Greeley. Claimant continued treatment in the Thornton/Denver area for several months with an authorized physician. Upon reaching MMI, asserted to Dr. Nystrom in Greeley. C.R.S. §8-43-404(5)(a)(V) states that if the ATP moves from one facility to another, or from one corporate medical provider to another, the injured worker may continue care with “the” ATP. A Claimant may continue with the ATP who moves locations so long as the ATP is Claimant’s primary physician with whom it is most necessary for Claimant to continue his care. The progress or frequency of care from a particular ATP is a factor in determining whether the physician is “the” primary physician. In this case, the case was remanded for review to determine whether “the” ATP was Dr. Nystrom, as there was evidence that Claimant may not have sought treatment again with Dr. Nystrom until filing the Application for Hearing on the issue. Moral of the Story: A Claimant may continue medical care with the ATP who has moved locations, as long as the ATP is “the” primary authorized physician providing care and there is evidence to support this. Note that this is different than the statute that allows Claimant to simply request a change of physician.