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Workers' Compensation

Late Breaking News from the Delaware Supreme Court on the Meaning of the Word “Resolved”

Folks, this is what many of you have been waiting for.  The latest word from the Supremes on whether describing the nature of injury on an Agreement as to Compensation tendered by the Employer to include the word “resolved” precludes a future claim for permanent impairment….and by extension,  God knows what else.

I am pressed for time today so I will keep this brief.  I am sure there are more artful and less painful ways to describe this case and I would entreat you to take Mike Galbraith or Maria Newell to lunch to get the real skinny on this.  The case I am talking about is Christiana Care Health Services v. Kenneth Davis, Del.  Supr., No. 138, 2015 (November 3, 2015).

Here are the takeaways:

·   “There is no question that the settlement agreement was as a legal matter, a binding contract supported by adequate consideration.”
·   “The ability of the parties to settle a workers compensation claim is undisputed, and Delaware law favors such agreements.”
·   “The parties created a valid and enforceable settlement agreement which provides that Davis’ back injuries were ‘resolved’ as of February 27, 2013.”

This is a terse decision and one which affords the utmost deference to the IAB proceedings below.  One which reverses the Superior Court decision, which had in turn reversed the IAB decision. 

Under other facts, can this ruling be distinguished?  Or is it simply a matter that from here on out, every claimant lawyer in town will know not to agree to certain language on the Agreement as to Compensation, to include a description of the injury as “resolved.”  And would a different outcome ensue if the claimant had been unrepresented? 

The bottom line?  There more than one way to skin a cat, so they say……and apparently more than one way to commute a claim.  Say it ain’t so!!

Irreverently yours,



 Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts


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