Archive for March, 2010

Case Updates

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

~ Plaintiff’s Failure to Prove Good-Faith Job Search Nixes Claim for Wage Loss Benefits

Case Name: Coulter v. General Motors Corp., 24 MIWCLR 2 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2010)
Ruling: After remand, the Commission reversed the Magistrate’s supplemental opinion awarding benefits.  The plaintiff did not establish that she was disabled pursuant to Stokes. What it means: If the plaintiff does not produces the testimony of a vocational expert to establish her qualifications and training, she must prove that she has conducted a good-faith, thorough job search or prove that her disability is so severe that she cannot as a practical manner seek work.  Failure to do this will prove fatal to a plaintiff’s claim for benefits.

(Source: Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, Highlights, Volume 24, Issue 1 February 26, 2010)

~ Magistrate’s Insufficient Disability Analysis Mandates Remand

Case Name: Kleinhardt v Kleinhardt, 24 MIWCLR 16 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2010)  Ruling: The Commission affirmed the Magistrate’s finding of an injury, but remanded for additional disability and wage loss analysis.  What it means: Where the magistrate fails to find the jobs that constitute the universe of employments suitable to the plaintiff’s qualifications and training that pay the maximum, and then fails to detail how the plaintiff proved that his work injury caused the inability to obtain those jobs, remand is necessary for additional disability analysis.

(Source: Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, Highlights, Volume 24, Issue 2, March 12, 2010)

~ Plaintiff Fails to Prove Compensable Lower Back Injury ~Case Name: Vorcac v. Memorial Medical Center of West Michigan, 24 MIWCLR 17 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2010)
Ruling: The Commission affirmed the Magistrate’s decision denying benefits to the plaintiff for an alleged work-related lower back injury.
What it means: Where a condition of the aging process is found, MCL 418.301(2) provides that such a condition will only be compensable if  contributed to or aggravated or accelerated by the employment in a significant manner.   In this case, although the magistrate did not specifically reference Section 301(2) and the significant manner test, he did a significant manner analysis weighing the various work related and non-work related factors that may have contributed to the plaintiff’s condition.
(Source: Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, Highlights, Volume 24, Issue 2, March 12, 2010)
~ Plaintiff Fails to Connect Kienbock’s Disease to Work ~
  Case Name: Burns v. Forest River, Inc., 24 MIWCLR 18 (Mich. W.C.A.C. 2010)
  Ruling: The Commission affirmed the Magistrate’s decision denying benefits related to the plaintiff’s Kienbock’s disease in his right wrist and granting the defendant’s petition to stop payment of benefits because the plaintiff unreasonably refused surgery.
  What it means: Where the magistrate does not accept the plaintiff’s testimony because it is inconsistent with the medical histories and her previous testimony, and she rejected plaintiff’s surgeon’s testimony because the doctor admitted that medical experts have not found an etiological basis for Kienbock’s disease, substantial evidence supported the magistrate’s decision denying benefits for the plaintiff’s condition.
(Source: Michigan Workers’ Compensation Law Reporter, Highlights, Volume 24, Issue 2, March 12, 2010)