The Georgia Court of Appeals in Chandler Telecom, LLC v. Burdette recently examined the definition and scope of the “willful misconduct” defense in regard to an employee’s failure to follow his employer’s rules and a supervisor’s instruction. In finding the accident compensable, the Court of Appeals held Burdette’s actions did not rise to the level of “willful” as this term was defined by the Georgia Supreme Court nearly a century ago. The Court of Appeals found an employee’s behavior had to rise to the level of actions which were “quasi criminal” in nature, rather than a mere violation of instructions, orders, rules, ordinances and statutes, and the doing of hazardous acts where the danger is obvious.
On June 6, 2016, the Supreme Court of Georga issued its Opinion in Roseburg Forest Products Company v. Barnes. The case involves a catastrophic amputation injury and a claimant’s attempt to seek a recommencement of income benefits after two years following the payment of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. To do so, the claimant argued the two-year statute of limitation under OCGA § 34-9-104 did not apply to his original catastrophic claim and he argued a new fictional injury claim when he was laid off from work approximately 16 years after his initial injury. While this case involved two separate insurer defendants, the successful defense to the fictional injury claim was handled by Swift Currie attorney Michael Rosetti.
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The 2016 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 818, House Bill 402, and House Bill 216, all which revise portions of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. The relevant changes in the law take effect July 1, 2016.Read More
The 2015 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 412, which revises portions of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. The relevant changes in the law take effect July 1, 2015. Revised portions include: Change in Benefit Rates, Change in Death Benefits, Changes to the SITF, Change in Options for Complying with The Physician Selection Process, and Added Language to the Exclusive Remedy Provision.
S13G1812 Reid v. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
The Supreme Court has REVERSED the Court of Appeals’ earlier decision that an employee’s pursuit of late payment income benefit penalties 10 years later was not barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
In Reid v. MARTA, the Court of Appeals addressed the two-year statute of limitations for income benefits under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-104, as well as the meaning of a “change of condition.” In contrast to a long history of both statutory and case law, the Court of Appeals found the two-year statute of limitations outlined in O.C.G.A. § 34-9-104 inapplicable to the employee’s request for payment of income benefit penalties even though nearly 10 years had passed since he last received temporary total disability benefits.