Verdict - Summer 2011 - (Page 42)

workers’ comp Recent Updates in Workers’ Compensation BY JASON PERKINS “A ny evidence” is the proper standard of review for appellate courts when reviewing a decision of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Master Craft Flooring v. Dunham, 308 Ga. App. 430 (2011); Bonus Stores, Inc. v. Hensley, 2011 WL 1238420 (Ga. App. 2011); Georgia Mountain Excavation v. Dobbins, 2011 WL 1287902 (Ga. App. 2011). The Georgia Court of Appea ls recently decided three separate cases involving the proper standard of review which appellate courts should apply when reviewing f indings of fact of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. All three of these cases involved the same procedural scen a r io: t he injured worker won in front of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the award was subsequently reversed by the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, and the Superior Court subsequently reversed the award of the Appellate Division. In each case, the Appellate Division had reviewed the evidence and determined that the ALJ’s findings of fact were not supported by a preponderance of the competent and credible evidence and substituted its own findings of fact. The Superior Court in each case determined that the evidence did not 42 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association support the Appellate Division’s reversal of the ALJ. The Appellate Division’s standard of review is established by O.C.G.A. §34-9103 which states, “The findings of fact made by the administrative law judge in the trial division shall be accepted by the appellate division where such findings are supported by a preponderance of competent and credible evidence within the records.” So, the question for determination by the Court of Appeals was what is the Superior Court (or any appellate court’s) proper role in analyzing whether the Appellate Division properly applied this standard of review. The Court of Appeals reversed the Superior Court in all three cases and held that an appellate court should apply the “any evidence” standard of review to any factual findings made by the Appellate Division, even when the Appellate Division reverses the ALJ. Under this standard, if there is any evidence to support the Appellate Division’s decision, it must be affirmed. Essentially, this means that the Appellate Division conducts a de novo review of the facts since an appellate court’s ability to assess whether the Appellate Division properly weighed the evidence in applying O.C.G.A. §34-9-103 is limited to whether there is any evidence to support it. Appellate division must consider all evidence in issuing its award. McEwen v. Bremen Bowdon Inv. Co., 2011 WL 1331545 (Ga. App. 2011). McEwen is another case where the Appellate Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation reversed the Administrative Law Judge. The Appellate Division’s reversal was at least partially based on its findings that at no time while working for Bremen Bowdon did McEwen

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2011

Let the Jurors Be Heard
A Rule Needing Limits: The “Right For Any Reason” Rule
Speaking Out of Turn: Ex Parte Interviews With Plaintiff’s Treating Physicians
GTLA 2011 President’s Gala: In Pictures
Legislative Relationships: The Key to Legislative Results
Welcome to the Federal Rules of Evidence: Georgia’s New Evidence Code
Judicial Spotlight: Reflections from the Bench
Book Review: The Fall of the House of Zeus
How I Obtained Justice for My Client: Cranford v. Ernest Homes
Technology Update: Securing Justice for Victims of Negligence? There’s an App for That!
Lessons from the Listserver: Is Defendant Driver History Permissible
Recent Updates in Workers’ Compensation
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Profile Listings

Verdict - Summer 2011