Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (11/5/2010)

Larson's Spotlight on Misrepresentation, Spoliation of Evidence, Marital Relationship, Drug Test, and Disqualification. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

FL: Misrepresentation in Worker's Letter of Resignation Was Not Sufficient to Cause a Forfeiture of Benefits

A Florida appellate court recently affirmed a decision by a Judge of Compensation Claims that found a workers' compensation claimant did not intentionally or knowingly make misrepresentations for the purpose of securing benefits when he wrote the employer a letter indicating he was resigning for economic reasons when he was actually leaving for physical reasons and he subsequently filed a claim; the judge had found credible his statement that he failed to tell the employer his true reasons for resigning in order to "keep the door open," in case he recovered sufficiently to return to the job.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Fla. App. LEXIS 16153. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 39.03.

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CT:  Hearing Commissioner Need Not Draw Adverse Inference Against Employer on the Basis of Spoliation of Evidence

The Appellate Court of Connecticut recently held, in relevant part, that a commissioner may, but need not, draw an adverse inference against an employer who destroys evidence that might have been unfavorable to it in a workers' compensation proceeding.  Plaintiff, a juvenile transportation officer working at a detention center, alleged he sustained work related injuries in an altercation with a detainee and that evidence, in the form of a security videotape taken by the employer, favoring his legal position had been improperly erased. 

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Conn. App. LEXIS 496. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 130.05.

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MD:  Marital Relationship Creates No Legal Obligation to Support the Other Spouse

A divided Court of Appeals of Maryland, quoting Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, Ch. 89, § 89.03, recently held that, for purposes of Md. Labor and Emp. Code Ann. § 9-632(d), "a legal obligation to support" a surviving spouse did not arise by virtue of the marital relationship alone, that at the time of his wife's death, the surviving spouse, under Md. Family Law Code Ann § 10-201 (2006), had no legally enforceable rights and the wife had no corresponding legally enforceable duties and since the surviving spouse failed to introduce any evidence of the existence of a legal duty to support him on the part of his wife-such as a court order or legally enforceable contract-the wife's right to receive compensation benefits did not pass to him under § 9-632(d).

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 MD LEXIS 620. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 89.03.

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OH: Terminated Employee Denied TTD Compensation for Period of Time Because He Abandoned His Employment by Showing Up Smelling of Alcohol and Testing Positive on Subsequent Drug Test for Alcohol

Where an employee, who had earlier suffered a knee injury, reported to work late, two other employees noticed the odor of alcohol within minutes of his reporting to work, a supervisor asked him to take a drug test, and he tested positive for alcohol, it was not abuse of discretion for the Commission to determine that he had voluntarily abandoned his employment and ruling that he should be disqualified from further TTD payments until he had reestablished his eligibility for compensation.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2010 Ohio App. LEXIS 4387. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven't registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, §§ 36.03, 84.04.

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PA: Commission of a Minor Traffic Offense in Connection With Accident that Causes a Work Injury is Not a Bar to Recovery of Workers' Compensation Benefits

A Pennsylvania appellate court recently held that claimant's summary conviction of driving at an unsafe speed that resulted in an auto accident and ensuing injury did not involve a felony or misdemeanor charge that would result in disqualification for purposes of workers' compensation benefits.  To hold otherwise would interject an impermissible issue of fault and simple negligence.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 37.02.

Note: This unpublished case is not available on lexisone.

Source: Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, the nation's leading authority on workers' compensation law

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