Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….. But Not on a Delaware Term Petition

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes….. But Not on a Delaware Term Petition

Vaudie Puckett.  Now there's a name for you.  And today we hear from defense attorney Joe Klusman alerting us that the DE Supreme Court has ruled.  And with a name like Vaudie Puckett, it's no wonder things did not go his way.  But turning to the relevant, here's what Joe had to say, however brief:

"Hi Cassandra.  While this isn't anything earth shattering, I thought you would want to see the Supreme Court's decision restating the fact that employers don't need to show a change in condition to successfully terminate total disability benefits.  Have a good one.  Joe."

Attached is Vaudie Puckett v. Matrix Services, DE Supr., No. 435, 2012 (January 7, 2013).  I love it when these things come to me hot off the press.  It's kind of like the difference between a chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven versus one that is a day old.  And this particular case is worth checking out, not only at the Supreme Court level but also with regard to what went before.  This case, one might say, is about as novel as making your chocolate chip cookies with coconut extract instead of vanilla (and I do).

What is so interesting about Vaudie's case?

   His injury was an exacerbated syrinx-how often do you see one of those?

   There was an FCE-the new gold standard of work capability status

   The treating doctor had to agreed that "the risk of re-injury while performing sedentary work may be the same as staying at home"-now there's a litmus test I can embrace

   There's a little tutorial contained within regarding the interplay between Section 2347 and res judicata - pretty cool stuff

The bottom line, for those of you don't know comp as well as the rest of us (see a recent Facebook post for my list of A-List practitioners), is that on a Petition for Review the standard is not a change in condition....it is showing that the disability has ended.  "Change in condition" is the burden of proof on a Petition for recurrence of total disability.  Got it?

Irreverently yours,
Cassandra Roberts

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