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  On January 17, 2020, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion in the matter styled Ex parte Kohler Company, Inc.  In Kohler, the Court considered a Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by the employer as the result of a trial court order requiring it to authorize a referral to a doctor for a second opinion after the employee had previously exercised her right to select a doctor from a panel of four. …
  Membership in the AWCO offers a number of professional and social opportunities annually to interact with other workers’ compensation professionals. The highlight of the year is the annual AWCO Spring Conference where its members come together for two days of education, fun, and fellowship. Membership is only $75 if paid prior to February 28, 2020.  After that, the annual fee goes up to $150.  Once you are an AWCO member, the Spring Conference is…
  Effective January 1, 2020, the Alabama Department of Labor, Workers’ Compensation Division, must receive a completed WC-4 Claim Summary Form for all Alabama Workers’ Compensation settlements regardless of whether the settlement goes before a Circuit Court Judge or an ADOL Ombudsman.   Forms are to be sent to:   Earlene Holland:             earlene.holland@labor.alabama.gov Phone or FAX   334-956-4031   Christine Dunn:              Christine.dunn@labor.alabama.gov Phone or FAX 334-956-4032  …
  Today marks 100 years since the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act went into effect.  Back then, it was known as the Alabama Workmen’s Compensation Act.  While it has been expanded in the last century, much of the original 33 page Act (now closer to 450 pages including annotations) has remained unchanged.   Although there has been some recent controversy as to the constitutionality of the Act, it remains a much better alternative to employees having…
  On December 6, 2019, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion in James Brooks v. Austal USA, LLC. The undisputed facts were that while the Complaint was filed prior to the expiration of the Statute of Limitations, the Complaint was not served on the employer for seven months, during which time the Statute of Limitations expired. The Court of Appeals held that to commence an action for Statute of Limitations purposes, a Complaint…
  On December 6, 2019, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion in Colby Furniture Company v. Belinda Overton.  In Overton, the employer sought the termination of the employee’s right to future medical benefits.  The employee injured her neck in 1994 and received pain management treatment for over 22 years.  In 2005, she was given a panel of four pain management doctors from which she selected a new doctor thus burning the one panel…
  On November 27, 2019 the Alabama Supreme Court released its opinion in Ex parte Dow Corning Alabama, Inc., et al. In this case an employee was injured while working for Alabama Electric Company, Inc. The injury occurred at Dow Corning Corporation. Dow Corning sought to enforce an indemnification agreement that it alleged it had with the employer, Alabama Electric Company, Inc. Also involved in this matter was Alabama Electric Company’s insurance carrier, National Trust…
  Ombudsmen Patricia Fraley and Ted Roose plan to continue to keep regular office hours on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month from 9-12 and 1-3 for anyone who wants to submit a settlement for their review. There is no need to make an appointment for these times but it is a good idea to call and give them a heads up just to make sure they will be there.   2020 OFFICE…
  On November 15, 2019, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion inEx parte Sea Coast Disposal, Inc., in response to a Petition for Writ of Mandamus. The employer argued there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court’s determination that the employee’s neck and back claims were compensable.  Regarding the neck, the Court of Appeals reviewed the evidence, consisting of medical records, medical expert testimony, and the testimony of both plaintiff and…