Verdict - Fall 2015 - (Page 48)

> Workers' comp Workers' Comp updates mia frieder and traCee r. Benzo ExCLUSIvE rEMEDY to their split. the gravamen of the argument is and began paying ttd income benefits. Barnes hARDiSON v. ENTERPRiSE hOLDiNGS, iNC. whether the Board has exclusive jurisdiction returned to work at Georgia-Pacific in January 331 Ga. App. 705 (March 30, 2015) over attorney fee disputes for fees generated 1994. After his return to work, his ttd benefits THE COUrT OF APPEALS reversed the from workers' compensation cases. the Court were replaced with permanent partial disability trial court's grant of summary judgment to the of Appeals recognized that while the Board also ("PPd") benefits. Barnes' last PPd payment was employer on an employee's wrongful reten- has jurisdiction to resolve ancillary issues relat- issued in may 1998. tion case arising out of a physical altercation ing to an employee's compensation rights under in 2006, Georgia-Pacific sold the plant to with another employee. the Court held that the the Act, the instant dispute did not fall within the roseburg Forest Products Company. roseburg Workers' Compensation Act is an employee's Board's exclusive jurisdiction because neither assumed Georgia-Pacific's assets and liabili- only remedy for the intentional torts of a co- party could point to any claimant whose rights ties. Barnes continued to work modified duty, worker, unless the tortious act was committed could be affected by the resolution of the attor- eventually transferring to light-duty until for personal reasons unrelated to the conduct of neys' claims. 2008, when Barnes was relocated to a more the employer's business. A party may abandon the Court of Appeals also held that although physically demanding job within the plant. the these claims in favor of exclusively pursuing his one of the attorneys failed to file an attorney fee new position exacerbated Barnes's injuries. claims sounding in wrongful retention. lien with the Board, this was not fatal to the claim on September 10, 2009, roseburg terminated hardison chose to exclusively pursue for fees since there were material facts to be Barnes. Barnes requested recommencement his claims sounding in wrongful retention. resolved regarding treating the claims as assets of his workers' compensation income benefits; moreover, hardison came forward with suf- under the partnership agreement sufficient to he was informed he was not eligible. ficient evidence that his employer was aware of defeat summary judgment on the issue. Lastly, in August 2012, Barnes filed with Georgia- his co-worker's propensity to engage in verbal the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court Pacific a notice of claim to resume ttd benefits. and physical confrontations to render the grant regarding modification of an injunction that did Asserting his 1993 injury date, Barnes claimed of summary judgment inappropriate. not maintain the status quo. he remained catastrophically injured since 1993 (despite the fact that he continued to work with ExCLUSIvE JUrISDICTION STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS; limitations), and as a catastrophically injured SMiTh v. WiLLiAMS CATASTrOPHIC INJUrY worker, he was entitled to receive benefits 2015 Ga. App. LEXiS 462 (July 14, 2015) CHANGE IN CONDITION; beginning on the date he no longer had a job. THE COUrT OF APPEALS affirmed in part FICTIONAL NEW ACCIDENT Georgia-Pacific controverted the claim assert- and reversed in part the decision of the lower bARNES v. ROSEbuRG FOREST ing he was no longer an employee and roseburg court, holding that the State Board of Workers' PRODuCTS COMPANY controverted the claim based on the statute of Compensation ("Board") did not have exclusive 2015 Ga. App. LEXiS 486 (July 16, 2015) limitations according to o.C.G.A. § 34-9-104(b). jurisdiction over a dispute involving the dis- THE COUrT OF APPEALS granted the in 2012, Barnes filed a separate notice of solution of a law partnership and the rights of employee's discretionary appeal involving a claim with roseburg and CCmSi. Barnes's attorneys regarding attorneys' fees resulting catastrophic injury, and reversed the superior second theory of recovery was based on the from the settlement of workers' compensation court, holding that the employee who suffered position that he sustained a"fictional new acci- cases because no rights of the claimants would the catastrophic injury, but returned to work dent" on September 11, 2009 (citing o.C.G.A. be affected by the resolution of the attorneys' and tried to resume payment of temporary total §34-9-82). the ALJ denied Barnes's claims as dispute. o.C.G.A. § 34-9-108(a) requires that disability ("ttd") benefits over two years after barred by the statute of limitations. the Board the Board approve attorney fees in excess his last benefit payment, was not barred by the affirmed and the Superior Court affirmed. of $100 and limits attorney fees to 25%, but statute of limitations period for change in condi- the Court of Appeals held that the cap the statute is aimed at protecting the rights of tion claims. the employee's claim was also not on weekly ttd benefits does not apply to an employee-claimants in relation to their attor- barred by the one year statute of limitations for employee that sustained a catastrophic injury, neys, rather than the rights of one attorney in fictional new accidents. until he has undergone the requisite change for relation to another. in August 1993, employee Barnes was the better. Given the statute's cap on benefits the instant case stemmed from the break-up working for Georgia-Pacific when his foot went for less severe injuries, and the absence of a cap of a law firm that handled domestic, personal through rotten flooring landing in an auger, and on benefits for catastrophic injuries, it is clear injury and workers' compensation cases. At he suffered an immediate amputation of his left that the legislature intended to treat workers issue are certain fees from workers' compensa- leg below the knee. the employer and insurer who received catastrophic injuries differently tion cases handled by one of the partners prior "CCmSi" accepted the claim as catastrophic from non-catastrophic injuries. Catastrophically 48 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Fall 2015

President’s Message
What’s New at HQ
Tips for Selecting and Implementing a New Case Management System
How I Obtained Justice for My Client
What You Need to Know About Mass Torts & Multidistrict Litigation
London Calling: Navigating the Waters When Taking a Deposition Overseas
Ethical and Practical Considerations of Co-Counseling
Avoiding Landmines: Identifying, Locating and Serving the Non-U.S. Corporate Defendant
Powerful Weapons: Public-Private Alliances Between State Attorneys General and Private Lawyers
Multidistrict Litigation: Friend or Foe?
Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery
Getting Out-of-State Evidence: Domesticating a Subpoena
New Lawyers’ Corner: Five Tips for Hanging your Shingle
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp Updates
Champion Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers

Verdict - Fall 2015