ILNews

COA affirms worker's comp benefits

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Court of Appeals affirmed an injured dancer is entitled to worker's compensation benefits and remanded with instructions to the Full Worker's Compensation Board to determine if she is eligible for double compensation and attorney fees because her company did not have worker's compensation insurance at the time of her injury.

In Wholesaler's Inc. d/b/a Shangri-La v. Angela Hobson, 93A02-0702-EX-173, Hobson worked as a dancer at Shangri-La in Fort Wayne. She injured herself Dec. 20, 2001, while performing a pole trick on stage and felt a pull in her neck. Hobson informed the manager after leaving the stage of her injury and went to a chiropractor a week later after experiencing continuous pain and numbness. After nearly a month of pain, Hobson had surgery to correct a herniated disc in her cervical spine.

Hobson filed an application for an adjustment of her claim with the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board in October 2003. After a hearing, she was awarded temporary total disability benefits and compensation for eight degrees of permanent impairment. At the time of her injury, Shangri-La did not have worker's compensation insurance.

Shangri-La appealed the board's decision, arguing there is insufficient evidence to support the award to Hobson, and its witnesses testified Hobson did not notify her co-workers of her injury or appear injured. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of Hobson, stating it was for the board to decide who was more believable.

Hobson is seeking appellate attorney fees, a 10 percent increase in her award pursuant to I.C. 22-3-4-8(f), and double the compensation and attorney fees because of Shangri-La's violation of Indiana law in not having worker's compensation insurance.

In order for Hobson to be entitled to that, Shangri-La's appeal must be frivolous or in bad faith. The Court of Appeals found that Shangri-La exhibited neither substantive nor procedural bad faith in its appeal. Even though there has been a delay in Hobson receiving her benefits, the time between an injury and determination on appeal is typically five years, which the court decided did not merit a 10 percent increase. The Court of Appeals did find she is entitled to a 5 percent increase in her award as provided by I.C. 22-3-4-8.

Pursuant to I.C. 22-3-4-13(f), Hobson may be entitled to double compensation and attorney fees. Because there's already been a four- to six-year delay in her receipt of benefits, the court remanded with instructions that the board determine whether Hobson is entitled to double compensation and attorney fees and to have Shangri-La make immediate payment for the full amount of the award to Hobson, including the 5 percent increase.
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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

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  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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