Friday, January 08, 2010
New Case- Respondents Cannot Pick and Choose
In this recent case just decided by the Colorado Court of Appeals that we'll call Paint Connection Plus the Respondents appealed the imposition of penalties. What happened is that the claimant's authorized or rating physician noted two injuries. For the shoulder where the claimant had two surgeries he said the claimant was at MMI (maximum medical improvement) with a rating for permanent impairment. However for the cervical area he said the claimant was not at MMI. Respondents alleged that all along they only admitted the shoulder was a work injury so they filed a Final Admission on the rating for the shoulder and denied for the cervical area. The claimant sought penalties and to strike the FAL (Final Admission of Liability). Respondents lost and appealed. At the Court of Appeals the decision was affirmed against the Respondents Paint Connection Plus and its insurer. The court noted that MMI is not divisible and the Final Admisssion was improper. There is no partial MMI and Respondents had other ways to proceed when they questioned the cervical injury. Also the FAL did not attach the worksheets used by the doctor in his shoulder rating and this was a separate ground to strike the FAL. The court ruled there can be no attachment of incomplete reports to a FAL. On penalties it is up to the judge and here they were upheld as Respondents were unreasonable in their actions.