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On July 21, 2017, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion in Felisha Bailey v. Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation Center. In Bailey, the employee was a certified nursing assistant who sued her employer and the third party administrator (TPA) handling her workers’ compensation claim. Count One of her complaint was against her employer for workers’ compensation benefits related to her claim of contracting scabies and the related psychological issues. Count Two was against the TPA for outrageous conduct. Count Two was subsequently dismissed upon motion of the TPA.
Rather than proceed to trial on the workers’ compensation issues, the employer elected to first file a motion for summary judgment. In support of the motion, the employer offered evidence which demonstrated that the employee never contracted scabies. Rather, the employee more likely suffered from delusional parasitosis whish is a disorder that causes a person to believe that they are infested by parasites. The evidence in support of this theory was compelling and the judge granted the motion for summary judgment. The employee timely filed her appeal.
On appeal, the employee pointed out that the trial judge improperly weighed the evidence in granting the employer’s motion for summary judgment. Since there was some evidence that could arguably support the employee’s theory, the Court of Civil Appeals agreed with the employee that granting summary judgment was improper. As such, the judgment was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
My Two Cents:
Unless there is evidence introduced at trial that is not referenced in the Court’s opinion, the time and expense associated with appealing the trial court’s decision is probably all for naught.
This blog submission was prepared by Mike Fish, an attorney with Fish Nelson & Holden, LLC, a law firm dedicated to representing self-insured employers, insurance carriers, and third party administrators in all matters related to workers’ compensation. Fish Nelson & Holden is a member of the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. If you have any questions about this submission or Alabama workers’ compensation in general, please contact Fish by e-mailing him at email@example.com or by calling him directly at 205-332-1448.