Monday, February 12, 2007

Del Marr v. Montgomery County (Ct. of Appeals)

Issued February 9, 2007 -- Opinion of Judge Alan Wilner

Petitioner suffered an injury to his back while in the employ of the Montgomery County Board of Education and received a preliminary award of $114 per week for 50 weeks of benefits from the Workers' Compensation Commission (the "Commission.") After two reopenings of his case reflecting the deterioration of his condition, Petitioner received an amended award of 115 weeks of benefits to be paid at the enhanced rate of $223 per week, to commence as of the effective date of the new order, with credit for "payments made" under the prior orders that did not involve an enhanced rate of weekly compensation. This enhanced rate was awarded pursuant to Maryland's Workers' Compensation Law, Md. Ann. Code, LE Sec. 9-628 and -629, which sections provide for enhanced weekly rates once the number of awarded weeks of benefits exceeds 75 weeks.

Montgomery County appealed the Commission's decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court, which reversed in part the decision of the Commission, holding that credit was to be made not for the dollar amount of payments made but only for the prior weeks of payment without dollar adjustments for those prior weeks' lower rate. Upon etitioner's appeal of that decision, the Court of Special Appeals upheld the Circuit Court. Petitioner appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Citing precedent in prior cases in which workers' compensation claimants' awards had been both increased and decreased in judicial proceedings, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Court of Special Appeals, holding that amended awards by the Commission do not effectuate a retroactive rate increase for weeks already paid and do not require a credit for dollars of payment, only for weeks of payment at the previously applicable rates.

The opinion is available in full here in PDF.

No comments: