Thursday, July 1, 2010

Worker's Compensation Panel reviews whether employer proved its affirmative defense of employee misrepresentation of physical condition


The employee sustained gradual injuries to his arms and shoulders as a result of repetitive motion in the course of his employment. His employer denied liability based upon the affirmative defense of misrepresentation of physical condition. Employee had sustained gradual injuries to his left shoulder and arm during a previous job. He was placed under permanent activity restrictions and received a workers' compensation award as a result of those injuries. In applying for employment with appellant, he did not disclose the prior injuries.

The trial court concluded that the employer did not prove the misrepresentation defense. Permanent total disability benefits were awarded. Employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by finding that it did not sustain its burden of proof as to the affirmative defense.

Upon review, we conclude that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's findings and that the employee's misrepresentation was willful, was relied upon by the employer and was causally related to his subsequent injuries. Because we find that the employer sustained its burden of proving its affirmative defense, we reverse the awarding of benefits. Finally, we conclude that the employer is not entitled to recover the cost of retaining a consulting physician to view a surgical procedure that did not take place.

Opinion available at:

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