OH Court Awards Work Comp Benefits to Data Entry Clerk

Toni Sutton

Twinsburg, OH (Workerscompensation.com) – An Ohio appellate court has ruled to uphold an award of benefits to data clerk Sandra White for the injuries she sustained from falling while on her lunch break while taking a walk.

According to the Decision and Journal Entry of Sandra White v. Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which cites as White v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., On June 7, 2016, while working for Quest Diagnostics at a building in Twinsburg, Sandra White clocked out for lunch and exited the building. She walked down the sidewalk, and over to the parking lot where she planned to walk around.

At the time the parking lot was under repair, and as stated by White, there had been two feet of completed pavement in the lot followed by a section that was incomplete. She slipped on the lip of the finished pavement while she crossed the lot and fell face first onto the area that was not complete and broke her arm.

After the incident, White reported the injury, but her application for benefits was rejected by the Administrator as well as from a district hearing officer. She did appeal, but the ruling of the district hearing officer’s was upheld by the staff hearing officer, and the Industrial Commission refused her request.

Ohio Industrial Commission Communications Director Adam Gibbs told WorkersCompensation.com that they respectfully had no comment.

White then decided to appeal to the common pleas court, and after both parties had filed cross-motions for summary judgment, the court granted her motion. The common pleas court concluded that White was entitled to compensation from her injuries. Both Quest Diagnostics and the Administrator have appealed this ruling, stating that the common pleas court wrongly granted White’s motion for summary judgment and inaccurately denied their motions for summary judgment.

Court documents also noted that the Administration and Quest both argued further that White should not be compensated for her injuries because the lot was in actuality under the control of the contractor that had been performing the repairs. They felt that even though Quest Diagnostics owned the parking lot, they were not liable.

In conclusion the court expressed the following: “Upon review of the record, we conclude that the trial court correctly concluded that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that Ms. White’s injuries were compensable as a matter of law. The court, therefore, correctly granted Ms. White’s motion for …summary judgment and correctly denied Quest’s and the Administrator’s motions for summary judgment. Quest’s and the Administrator’s assignments of error are overruled.”

White’s Attorney, Patrick Moro, told WorkersCompensation.com via phone interview that since the Bureau denied his client, she did not receive any medical premiums and had not been paid any workers’ compensation benefits. White had fractured her wrist from the fall and underwent an operation where pins were inserted into her arm. She was out of work for a few months, since she was not able to perform daily tasks that pertained to her position as a data entry clerk. After surgery, she wore a wrist support while attending physical therapy.

Moro said, “No monies have been rewarded and now that they have this judgment from the trial court, we will have a hearing at the administration level on specifics asking for compensation benefits for the time she was out and for medical costs to be covered. It’s complex in the sense that we need to work administratively to calculate that number based upon disability compensation in lieu of her short-term disability insurance, and that will be worked out when we go into this hearing that has not yet been scheduled.”

Moro said it was an attempt to shrink the course of her employment and they just wanted to fight the law as it stood. “Some employers will certify it and pay the claim and it’s just one of those situations where the employer was persistent in trying to shut her out essentially.”

Moro said he hopes that White will come out on top in the end, but it is also important to note Qwest Diagnostics can still appeal to the Supreme Court if they so choose.

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