Friday, February 06, 2009

Summary 2009 WY 14

Summary of Decision issued February 5, 2009

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: In re Worker’s Comp. Claim of Horn-Dalton

Citation: 2009 WY 14

Docket Number: S-07-0276

Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County, the Honorable Jere A. Ryckman, Judge.

Representing Appellant Horn-Dalton: Lynn Boak of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee State: Bruce A. Salzburg, Attorney General; John W. Renneisen, Deputy Attorney General; James Michael Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Brandon W. Snyder, Special Assistant Attorney General, MacPherson, Kelly & Thompson.

Facts/Discussion: Horn-Dalton claims that the district court erred when it upheld an OAH decision in favor of the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division (Division), which determined that Appellant was not eligible for benefits.

Timeliness: Appellant was informed that her symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia on March 22, 2004 but did not submit a Report of Injury until July 15, 2004. She admitted she did not report her injury to her employer in writing but rather as part of a conference call in April 2004. The hearing examiner was correct in presuming that the claim should be denied unless Appellant could show that neither the Division nor her employer was prejudiced by her failure to timely report her injury.
Prejudice: There was no evidence in the record that the division or the employer was prejudiced by Appellant’s failure timely to file her injury report. It was not reasonable for the hearing examiner to conclude that Appellant did not meet her burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that the failure timely to report did not prejudice her employer or the division.
Work-Related Injury: The testimony in the record supported the conclusion that Appellant’s injury occurred over a substantial period of time and is therefore subject to the heightened burden of proof of Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 27-14-603(a). Given the heightened burden and the inconclusive medical testimony, the Court found the hearing examiner could reasonably have concluded that Appellant failed to meet her burden of proving that her injury was directly related to her employment.

Conclusion: The OAH reasonably determined that Appellant’s claim was not timely filed. However, the OAH erred when it applied the statutory presumption to deny Appellant’s claim because its conclusion that Appellant failed to prove that neither her employer nor the Division was prejudiced by the delay was against the great weight of the evidence. The OAH’s determination that Appellant failed to meet her burden of proof on the issue of whether her injury resulted from her employment was not against the great weight of the evidence.


C.J. Voigt delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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