Little Deuce Coupe….. But Not On the Carrier’s Dime in Delaware

Little Deuce Coupe….. But Not On the Carrier’s Dime in Delaware

Okay, so I am not sure what a “deuce coupe” really is, but above is what it supposedly looks like.  Makes me think a bit about my first car….. which, like your first love, you never forget.  Mine was a Gremlin—the color of a copper penny.  Kind of a testament to how cool I was in high school…… not.  I now drive a Subaru Forester with a Scripture vanity plate (Proverbs 16:3).  Some things never change.  I am just never gonna be that cool kid.

Speaking of cool, a big thank you to Fred Freibott and Bob Richter who both alerted me to this decision as soon as it issued.  I held up a bit because I knew there was a Motion for Re-Argument pending.  That has now been adjudicated and it affirms the initial decision.

The cases: Mark Luckenbach v. Schiff Farms, IAB#1204737 (2/7/14) and Mark Luckenbach v. Schiff Farms, IAB#1204737 (3/11/14)(Order on Motion for Re-Argument).

Let me start by saying this case is special (aren’t they all?) because there is not a lot of law out there on the topic of the carrier owing for a handicapped-equipped van or vehicle—in the Hearing Officer’s words, it is an issue “that has enjoyed only limited consideration in Delaware.”.  And perhaps political correctness mandates that we now refer to this as a vehicle for the “physically challenged” or “occupationally injured”?  Anyway, the lawyers had to go back to the Owens case (IAB decision 1987) to find law (there is also the Gillespie case which was mine from 1993, not cited in the decision).  And then they had to undertake that last resort (drumroll, please) of turning to law in other jurisdictions—in this case Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota (thank God for Larson’s).  Did I mention Sweet Caroline is attending college in Alabama?  That’s good enough for me.

Here are my takeaways from this case, leaving it to you to savor every word of the opinions in your leisure-

* The cost of modifying the vehicle is compensable, but not the actual cost of the vehicle itself.
* Where the vehicle is leased with three years left on the lease, that is not the carrier’s problem.
* In this lease scenario, claimant needs to consider purchasing another vehicle on his own dime and then submitting the cost of modifications to make the vehicle user-friendly to the carrier.

This claimant (or his wife as his caretaker) was driving a leased Lexus SUV – sweet.  My sister-in-law has one of those.  I think I will stick with my Forester……. better mileage, LOL!

Irreverently yours,
Cassandra Roberts

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