Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Vannett

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

July 19, 1999

STATE COMPENSATION INSURANCE FUND Appellant
v.
WILLARD E. VANNETT Respondent.

          Submitted: July 19, 1999

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO PRESENT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE

          MIKE MCCARTER JUDGE

         Summary: During appeal from decision of DOL finding claimant to suffer from an OD, State Fund moved to present additional medical evidence, to wit, an independent medical examination conducted more than three months after the hearing officer's decision and two months after the appeal was filed. Pro se claimant did not object to introduction of report. Reason offered by State Fund for offering post-hearing IME was its reliance on statutory presumption in favor of panel report which had only been struck down by WCC nine days prior to hearing below.

         Held: State Fund did not present good reasons for failing to present IME in proceeding before DOL. Statutory presumption was not conclusive and did not relieve parties of obligation to present evidence or defend against other party's evidence.

         Topics:

Administrative Procedure: Contested Case Hearing: Evidence. Where State Fund did not present good reasons for failing to present IME in proceeding before DOL, motion to present additional evidence denied.

         ¶1 This is an appeal by the State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund) from a decision of the Department of Labor and Industry finding that Willard E. Vannett (claimant) suffers from an occupational disease. The matter presently before the Court is the State Fund's motion to present additional medical evidence.

         ¶2 The claimant initially did not respond to the motion. Because he is appearing pro sé and might have been unaware that he could respond, on July 13, 1999, the Court wrote a letter asking if he wished to reply to the motion. On July 14, 1999, he wrote back that he did not "object to the filing of the said motion" and desired "that all parties and all evidence be admitted before the Court for the purpose of resolving the matter . . . in a fair and just conclusion."

         DISCUSSION

         ¶3 This occupational disease case was heard by a Department hearing officer on September 11, 1998. The claimant alleged, and the hearing officer found, that he suffers from liver disease aggravated or accelerated by his exposure to industrial chemicals at work. The hearing officer rendered his decision on February 4, 1999. This appeal by the State Fund followed on March 5, 1999.

         ¶4 State Fund moves for leave to present additional medical evidence in the form of a report of an independent medical evaluation by Dr. Patricia J. Sparks. The report is dated May 14, 1999, more than three months after the hearing officer's decision and more than two months after the State Fund's appeal of the decision.

         ¶5 Irrespective of the claimant's apparent acquiescence to admitting the IME report, the State Fund must still satisfy Court Rule ARM 24.5.350(5), which provides:

(5) A motion for leave to present additional evidence must be filed no later than the time set for the last brief or, if oral argument is timely requested, then no later than the day before the argument. If it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the additional evidence is material and that there were good reasons for failure to present it in the proceeding before the department, then the court may remand the matter to the department and order that the additional evidence be taken before the department upon conditions determined by the court. The department may modify its findings and decision by reason of the additional evidence and shall file that evidence and any modifications, new findings, or decisions with the reviewing court. [Emphasis added.]

         The motion is timely and the IME report appears to be material. But the State Fund must still demonstrate that "there were good reasons" for its failure to present Dr. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.