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Crowell v. State Compensation Insurance Fund

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

April 14, 1999

BRUCE CROWELL Petitioner
v.
STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND Respondent/Insurer for WAGER LOGGING Employer

          Submitted: March 8, 1999

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          MIKE McCARTER JUDGE

         Summary: Injured worker claimed he was permanently totally disabled.

         Held: In a bench ruling reported by transcript, WCC found claimant permanently totally disabled. WCC believed there was some employment claimant could perform if he properly cared for himself and received work hardening and training, but claimant nevertheless found claimant permanently totally disabled because the evidence before the Court was that he would not find employment, given his physical condition, age, education, skills, and other factors employers consider.

         Topics:

Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations and Rules: Montana Code: section 39-71-702, MCA. Even if claimant may be able to perform some employment after work hardening and training, he is nevertheless permanently totally disabled where evidence indicates he would not in fact be hired for any employment. For a claimant not to be permanently totally disabled, the statutes requires the existence of specific jobs for which claimant is qualified and competitive. Jobs for which he is theoretically qualified, but not competitive, do not argue against permanent, total disability status.
Benefits: Permanent Total Benefits. Even if claimant may be able to perform some employment after work hardening and training, he is nevertheless permanently totally disabled where evidence indicates he would not in fact be hired for any employment. For a claimant not to be permanently totally disabled, the statutes requires the existence of specific jobs for which claimant is qualified and competitive. Jobs for which he is theoretically qualified, but not competitive, do not argue against permanent, total disability status.
Vocational - Return to Work Matters: Deconditioning. Even if claimant may be able to perform some employment after work hardening and training, he is nevertheless permanently totally disabled where evidence indicates he would not in fact be hired for any employment. For a claimant not to be permanently totally disabled, the statutes requires the existence of specific jobs for which claimant is qualified and competitive. Jobs for which he is theoretically qualified, but not competitive, do not argue against permanent, total disability status.
Vocational - Return to Work Matters: Employability. Even if claimant may be able to perform some employment after work hardening and training, he is nevertheless permanently totally disabled where evidence indicates he would not in fact be hired for any employment. For a claimant not to be permanently totally disabled, the statutes requires the existence of specific jobs for which claimant is qualified and competitive. Jobs for which he is theoretically qualified, but not competitive, do not argue against permanent, total disability status.
Vocational - Return to Work Matters: Typically Available Employment. Even if claimant may be able to perform some employment after work hardening and training, he is nevertheless permanently totally disabled where evidence indicates he would not in fact be hired for any employment. For a claimant not to be permanently totally disabled, the statutes requires the existence of specific jobs for which claimant is qualified and competitive. Jobs for which he is theoretically qualified, but not competitive, do not argue against permanent, total disability status.

         ¶1 This matter came on for trial in Kalispell on March 8, 1999. Petitioner, Bruce Crowell (claimant), was represented by Mr. Garry D. Seaman. Respondent, State Compensation Fund (State Fund), was represented by Ms. Carrie L. Garber. Exhibits 1 through 13 were admitted into evidence without objection. The claimant, his wife Judith Crowell, Mark Schwager, Roberta Smith, and Gail Martin testified.

         ¶2 Upon completion of the trial, the Court deemed the matter submitted and ruled from the bench. I found claimant permanently totally disabled, denied attorney fees, and determined that claimant is entitled to his costs.

         ¶3 The parties have agreed that a transcript of the Court's oral findings of fact and conclusions of law may take the place of written findings and conclusions. Accordingly, a copy of the transcript of the bench ruling is attached.

         ¶4 In accordance with the bench ruling, and based on claimant's memorandum of costs, to which no objection is ...


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