New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) – After nearly 18 years in court, a New York umpire’s case is being thrown out of court, not for lack of merit, but for lack of complete paperwork, a New York appeals court has found.
Mark Hirschbeck, major league baseball umpire, was injured on the job in 2002. After the injury to his right hip, Hirschbeck filed for and received workers’ compensation benefits for his hip replacement surgery as well as for complications and additional surgeries that followed. Hirschbeck was eventually deemed permanently partially disabled.
Hirschbeck later sued a third-party alleging medical malpractice as well as filing a products liability claim related to his hip replacement device. He won that case and in 2011, was awarded $3.2 million.
Afterwards, the workers’ compensation carrier suspended payments of Hirschbeck’s benefits, claiming it had reserved its right to a future offset from any third-party settlements, pursuant to an agreement it had with Hirschbeck in 2007. Hirschbeck filed appeals to the Workers’ Compensation Board, which also found for the carrier. Hirschbeck then took the case to the New York appellate court, which also found in favor of the carrier. Eventually, Hirschbeck and the board reached a settlement.
But, in 2017, a workers’ compensation law judge ruled that the carrier was entitled to a credit toward ongoing and future indemnity and medical liability, and that no additional payments to Hirschbeck were required by the carrier to cover the cost of his counsel fees in relation to his third-party action.
Hirschbeck again appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Board. But the board denied his application to review the judge’s decision. According to the board, Hirchbeck’s application was not filled out properly.
Hirschbeck appealed that decision to the state’s appellate court.
The appeals court agreed with and upheld the board’s decision.
In its findings, the appellate court said “instructions for the RB-89 form regarding question number 13 required that claimant specify the date and document ID numbers of ‘the transcripts, documents, reports, exhibits, and other evidence in the Board’s file that are relevant to the issues and grounds being raised for review.’ In response, claimant answered, ‘[a]ll hearings, transcripts and documents in [the Board] file are pertinent to the outstanding issue.’ By merely referencing the entire Board case file in response to question number 13, claimant failed to comply with the prescribed formatting and completion.”