Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board upholding the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ), which awarded Michael R. Plumley permanent partial disability benefits. On appeal, the Court held that the ALJ did not err (1) by relying upon the medical report of Dr. Greg Snider, who evaluated Plumley under the range-of-motion method and used terminology different from that which Plumley would use to describe essentially the same condition; (2) by finding that Plumley had three distinct work-related injuries, for each of which the ALJ made three tandem benefit awards rather than a single-injury with a single-benefit award; and (3) in his use of modifier multipliers. View "Plumley v. Kroger, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) affirming the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) awarding Donald Jobe benefits regarding his back. Jobe, an employee of Ford Motor Company, suffered a right hip injury stemming from a work-related accident. Jobe applied for workers’ compensation benefits, asserting that he sustained a low back impairment due to the hip injury. The ALJ found that Jobe’s work-related hip injury was a proximate cause of his low back impairment and awarded Jobe benefits for a fourteen percent permanent partial disability, temporary total disability benefits for the periods he was off work due to his back impairment, and medical benefits. The Board affirmed, concluding that the ALJ had substantial evidence to support his finding that Jobe’s low back impairment had a causal connection to the work-related injury. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ based his decision that Jobe’s back impairment was work-related on substantial evidence. View "Ford Motor Co. v. Jobe" on Justia Law

by
The administrative law judge’s (ALJ) findings that Appellant was exposed to MOCA, a curing agent and a known carcinogen, at a TEMA Isenmann, Inc. production facility and that this exposure resulted in an occupational disease were supported by substantial evidence. Appellant worked for TEMA Isenmann, Inc. When he was diagnosed and treated for bladder cancer, he sought permanent total disability benefits based upon his assertion that his cancer amounted to an occupational disease. On remand for the second time from the Workers’ Compensation Board, the ALJ awarded Appellant the benefits sought. The Board affirmed the ALJ. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, holding that the ALJ’s award was based upon substantial evidence. View "Miller v. TEMA Isenmann, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board (Board), which reversed the ALJ’s rejection of Plaintiff’s claim for enhanced benefits and reinstated the judgment of the ALJ. Plaintiff, an employee of VanMeter Contracting, Inc., was critically injured in a workplace accident. After an investigation, the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Administration (KOSHA) issued a citation against VanMeter, charging it with violating 29 CFR 1926.703(a)(1). Plaintiff filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and asserted a claim for a thirty percent benefit enhancement provided by Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.165(1) for the workplace injury. Plaintiff alleged the same regulatory violations asserted by KOSHA and a violation of the general workplace safety duty of Ky. Rev. Stat. 338.031(1)(a). The ALJ declined to grant the thirty percent enhancement, finding that Plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to prove the intentional violation of any safety statute or regulation. The Board reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board misconstrued or overlooked controlling law when, in contradiction of the ALJ’s findings, it accorded conclusive weight to the KOSHA settlement agreement. View "Groce v. Vanmeter Contracting, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the opinion of the court of appeals, which affirmed the decisions of the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) holding that Kathy Prichard was entitled to reopen her workplace injury claim almost seven years after her initial award of workers’ compensation benefits but within four years of a subsequent order granting her additional disability benefits. The court held (1) Prichard’s motion to reopen was timely filed within the four-year limitation period contained in Ky. Rev. Stat. 342.125(3); and (2) Prichard demonstrated through objective medical evidence a change in her disability indicating a worsening of her impairment, as required for reopening a claim under section 342.125(1)(d). View "Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Prichard" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal of a Georgetown-Scott County Planning Commission for lack of jurisdiction. The Planning Commission had approved a plat amendment requested by a developer to remove a planned lake from the development plan applicable to Appellants’ subdivision. Appellants appealed. The circuit court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter because Appellants had not strictly complied with the provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. 100.347 by taking their appeal within the statutorily-allotted time period. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants failed to commence their action before the expiration of the time allotted by section 100.347(2). View "Isaacs v. Caldwell" on Justia Law

by
In this appeal, intervening statutory law enacted by the General Assembly rendered moot the legal issues decided by the circuit court. Here, the circuit court sustained the Attorney General’s challenge to Governor Matthew Bevin’s authority under Ky. Rev. Stat. 12.028 to abolish and reorganize the University of Louisville Board of Trustees and permanently enjoined the Governor from implementing executive orders issued in connection with his effort. The Supreme Court dismissed the Governor’s appeal and remanded the case to the circuit court with directions to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, holding that newly enacted Senate Bill 107 controls over section 12.028. The case is moot because Senate Bill 107 provides a specific statutory path for a governor to disband and reconstitute a university’s governing board and creates a process for the removal of individual members of a university’s governing board. View "Bevin v. Beshear" on Justia Law

by
The Board of Commissioners of the City of Danville impermissibly went into closed session to discuss its intention to bid on real property offered for sale pursuant to an absolute auction, but the Board’s action was not willful. The Attorney General issued a decision that the Board had violated the Open Meetings Act and that the Board had committed a violation in failing to respond to a written complaint delivered to the mayor by the Danville Advocate-Messenger regarding the Board's closed meeting. The circuit court upheld the Attorney General’s determination but denied the newspaper’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs on grounds that the violations were not willful. The Court of Appeals upheld the finding of an open meeting violation but reversed the trial court’s finding that the violation was not willful. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) no exception permitted the Board’s contested action; but (2) the Board’s action was not willful, and therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the newspaper’s motion for costs and fees. View "Board of Commissioners of City of Danville v. Advocate Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the conclusion of an administrative law judge (ALJ), the Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Court of Appeals that Luis Lopez, an uninsured employer, was properly notified of Isaias Silva-Lamas’s resolution of injury claim. The ALJ found that Silva-Lamas became permanently and totally disabled as a result of an injury he suffered while employed by Lopez. Because it appeared that Lopez never received notice of the claim, the Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) contested the Department of Workers’ Claims’s jurisdiction to proceed against him and, by extension, against the UEF. The ALJ, Board, and Court of Appeals concluded that Silva-Lamas had acted appropriately in filing his claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that service was appropriate under the relevant statute and civil rules. View "Uninsured Employers Fund v. Acahua" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court overruled Shamrock Coal Co. v. Taylor, 697 S.W.2d 952 (Ky. App. 1985), which holds that a complaint that exhibits “a clear attempt at verification” is sufficiently compliant with Ky. Rev. Stat. 341.450(1) to authorize judicial review. At issue in this case was whether Appellee had substantially complied with the verification requirement of section 341.450(1) when he filed a complaint seeking judicial review of an adverse decision of the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission (KUIC). The circuit court dismissed the complaint based upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Taylor v. Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission, 382 S.W.3d 826 (Ky. 2012). The Court of Appeals reversed, citing Shamrock. The Supreme Court reversed after overruling Shamrock, holding that the complaint in this case failed to satisfy the verification requirement of section 341.450(1). View "Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission v. Wilson" on Justia Law