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Appeals court: Worker entitled to pursue compensation after settlement

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A worker injured in a traffic accident who received a settlement for a workers’ compensation claim in Wisconsin may proceed with a claim in Indiana, where the crash occurred, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The appellate court reversed and remanded a ruling by the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana, which dismissed an application for adjustment of claim from Dale Brenon, a Wisconsin resident hired by Omega Insurance Services as an investigator.

After a 2003 crash in Lakeville, Ind., Omega through its insurers negotiated a $100,000 settlement with Brenon. Before the settlement was accepted, Brenon filed an application in Indiana seeking workers’ compensation benefit.   

“Contrary to the Board’s conclusion, the issue cannot be disposed of simply because Brenon’s receipt of worker’s compensation benefits was the result of negotiated settlement agreements rather than a unilateral, voluntary payment by Omega and Zenith Insurance Company/Zurich American Insurance Company,” Judge Ezra Freidlander wrote in a unanimous opinion.

“The statutes and judicial opinions of the state of the first award must be examined to determine if they expressly disallow a later award in a different state. Here, the parties have not provided us with any analysis of judicial opinions or statutes in Wisconsin regarding whether such preclude an additional award in another state. Our research has likewise revealed no judicial opinions or statutes in Wisconsin (or Indiana for that matter) that prohibit claims in multiple states,” Friedlander wrote.

The judges remanded the matter to the Worker’s Compensation Board, holding that the board’s dismissal was “not sustainable under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, Wisconsin laws or Supreme Court precedent, and that the Board’s decision gave no effect to the reservation of rights clauses contained in settlement agreements.”

 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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