Posts Tagged ‘judicial review’

Arnold & Placek Wins Death Benefits Case on Summary Judgment, Appeal

Written by A&P News on November 7th, 2017. Posted in Appeals, Judicial Review, News

After the foreman for a San Angelo electrical contractor was killed in an auto accident on his way to work, his widow sought workers’ compensation death benefits from Texas Mutual Insurance Company. Texas Mutual disputed the claim and prevailed at the Division of Workers’ Compensation. His widow appealed the decision to the District Court of Sutton County where Texas Mutual was represented by Arnold & Placek, P.C. After discovery was completed, Matthew Foerster successfully obtained a summary judgment (and defeated the widow’s cross-motion) determining that the foreman was not in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The widow then appealed again to the San Antonio Court of Appeals. On November 1, 2017, the San Antonio Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion affirming the summary judgment in favor of Texas Mutual. Throughout the judicial review and appellate process, Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Matthew Foerster.

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Eastland Mandamus

Written by A&P News on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Appeals, Judicial Review

The Texas Supreme Court today denied the Motion for Rehearing of Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd. in its request for mandamus review of the Eastland Court of Appeals decision in In re Texas Mutual Ins. Co.. In 2010, the Eastland Court of Appeals granted the petition for writ of mandamus filed by Arnold & Placek on behalf of Texas Mutual, holding that employers do not have a general right of standing to intervene in judicial review suits by their employees. The Eastland Court held that standing in a workers’ compensation suit must have a statutory basis. Accordingly, the Eastland court instructed the trial judge to dismiss Amerimex’s petition in intervention.

Amerimex then filed a petition for writ of mandamus asking the Supreme Court to reinstate their suit. The Supreme Court denied the petition on September 30, 2011, and denied the motion for rehearing today. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Scott Arnold of Arnold & Placek, and by the firm of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon and Moody.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Obtains Judgment that Impairment Benefits Cannot be Awarded for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Written by A&P News on April 11th, 2011. Posted in Judicial Review

274th District Court, Comal County

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today obtained a complete summary judgment on Texas Mutual’s appeal from an adverse decision of the Division of Workers’ Compensation in this judicial review action.  The claimant filed for workers’ compensation after witnessing the aftermath of a break in at the animal shelter where she was employed.  Texas Mutual accepted the claim and the claimant was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). A designated doctor gave her a 35% whole person impairment rating based solely on her PTSD. The DWC upheld the designated doctor’s determination.

On appeal to the district court, Arnold & Placek filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Texas Mutual, arguing that it was impermissible for the DWC to award any impairment rating for PTSD.  The court agreed and, in granting a full judgment for Texas Mutual, held that a claimant’s impairment rating, by statute, must be based on the American Medical Association’s guidelines, and those guidelines specifically state that it is not possible to assign an impairment rating for mental disorders such as PTSD.  Thus, the Court held that her impairment rating was 0%, as found by a second doctor that had evaluated the claimant.  Kyle Jones argued and obtained the summary judgment for Texas Mutual.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Secures Another Dismissal on Mandamus

Written by A&P News on November 12th, 2010. Posted in Appeals, Judicial Review

11th Court of Appeals, Eastland, Texas

In an opinion handed down earlier today, the Eastland Court of Appeals granted the Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by Arnold & Placek on behalf of its client, Texas Mutual Insurance Company. The case, In re Texas Mutual Ins. Co., et al, arose out of a suit for judicial review in the 188th District Court for Howard County. The employer intervened into an existing judicial review suit, attempting to seek review of DWC determination of non-compensability for other employees in the same accident. After Judge Robert Moore denied Texas Mutual’s Plea to the Jurisdiction, mandamus proceedings were instituted. The 11th Court of Appeals held that an employer has no standing to challenge the denial of compensability by their carrier, or to appeal a determination of non-compensability at the DWC. As a result, the court dismissed the petition in intervention of Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd., and ordered the trial court to dismiss the intervention by December 1, 2010.

This case is significant because it is the first case to directly examine the full scope of an employer’s standing to contest DWC determinations. The Eastland court looked first and foremost to the plain language of the statute to determine that no general standing exists for employers. In its opinion, the Eastland court considered, and rejected, each of the major arguments typically asserted by employers who attempt to institute judicial reviews. They further distinguished the Tyler Asphalt case, that many employers improperly rely upon for the proposition that payment of workers’ compensation premium establishes general standing for the employer to litigate claims before the DWC and in district court. The full opinion is available here.