Court Cases Court Cases
AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL  GA  HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NV 
NH  NJ  NM  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  EO  NR  PR  DC  US 
 
View Case Details
 
Joseph Jackson, Plaintiff
vs.
Eichleay Corp. and Hartford Insurance Co., Defendants JACKSON
 
Case:
Docket No. 1996 ACO #88
 
Location:
Workers' Compensation Appellate Commission
 
Date:
February 29, 1996
 
Attorneys:
APPEARANCES
Joseph Jackson (In pro per)
Victor J. Abela for Defendants.
WYSZYNSKI COMMISSIONER
 
Court:
Magistrate Sharon L. Smith.
 

50.047 Computation of Awards Proof of Disability

SUMMARY

The Magistrate granted a closed award finding that but for plaintiff's refusal to take a drug test on the day he reported back to work he would have returned to gainful employment. Plaintiff appealed. The Commission affirmed finding that plaintiff failed to show a link between his unemployment and his injury.

Plaintiff appeals from the decision of Magistrate Sharon L. Smith mailed January 18, 1994, granting plaintiff a closed award. Plaintiff argues on appeal that the magistrate's decision is not supported by competent material and substantial evidence.*fn1 We affirm the decision of the magistrate.

Disability is defined as a limitation of a plaintiff's wage-earning capacity in work suitable to his qualifications and training. MCL 418.301(4). Pursuant to Michales v. Morton Salt Co., 450 Mich. 479 (1995), and Sobotka v. Chrysler Corp., 447 Mich. 1 (1994), a claimant is not disabled if he is still able to earn pre-injury wages in work for which he is qualified and trained. Witucki v. Packaging Corp. of America, 1995 ACO #417. Pursuant to Sobotka the claimant bears the burden of proof in establishing the direct causal link between the wage loss and the work-related injury; that is a plaintiff's unemployment must be directly or solely attributable to the compensable injury. Braddock v. Bellrose Inc., 1994 ACO #525.

Our review of the record in this matter persuades us that plaintiff has not shown a link between his unemployment and his injury. In fact as the magistrate clearly found plaintiff's unemployment in this matter is solely the result of his refusal to take a drug test Plaintiff's disability clearly had resolved itself by November 15, 1991, the day he reported back to defendant. There is absolutely no showing that plaintiff is permanently disabled or that such disability is as a result of his injury on October 10, 1991. The finding of the magistrate granting a closed award is supported by competent material and substantial evidence and is therefore conclusive upon us. MCL 418.861a(3).

We affirm the decision of the magistrate.

Commissioner Kent and Chairperson Miller concur.

Order

This cause came before the Appellate Commission on appeal by plaintiff from the decision of Magistrate Sharon L. Smith mailed January 18, 1994, granting a closed award. The Commission has considered the record and the briefs of Counsel and believes that the decision should be affirmed. Therefore

IT IS ORDERED that the magistrate's decision is affirmed.

 
Notes:

*fn1 The magistrate's opinion was short and straight to the point: Plaintiff birth date June 7, 1921, has established by the preponderance of the evidence a work-related injury on October 10, 1991, and related disability through November 15, 1991,.On October 10, 1991, towards the end of the work day plaintiff fell having topped over a lunch box near the wash bowl. His left knee head and hands hit the ground. He testified he "cracked" both wrist[s] but this was unsupported by the medical evidence. Plaintiff was sent to the Detroit Industrial Clinic where he received treatment. He returned to work on October 21, 1991, and worked until approximately October 28, 1991, eight hours a day. He advised his foreman he was still ill. On November 15, 1991, plaintiff returned to the job site stating he was ready to work. He was advised by his foreman that he must take a drug test. Plaintiff refused to be tested and has not worked since. Although the medical shows degenerative changes throughout this 73 year old man I find that as of November 15, 1991, plaintiff's work-related disability had resolved and he was able to resume his general laborer duties. But for his refusal to take a drug test plaintiff would have returned to gainful employment with defendant on November 15, 1991.Benefits are awarded from October 11, 1991, through November 14, 1991.