When the Industrial Commission twice held that CSH attorney Black’s client had to pay benefits to a former employee, he took the case to the Court of Appeals. The Court agreed with him that the Commission had made an error of law and no benefits were warranted.
The plaintiff was an employee of the defendant company when he fell and injured his back. The defendant company, CSH’s client, agreed to pay his medical bills. Two and a half years after his injury, the plaintiff came back to the Industrial Commission, telling them that his back was still injured and asking for disability benefits. The Commissioner hearing the case awarded him benefits, and the Full Commission affirmed.
Since 1997, North Carolina courts have applied what is called the Parsons presumption to certain cases: When a worker suffers a compensable injury, there is a presumption that any later medical treatment is related to that injury, unless the employer can prove otherwise. This is a reversal of the standard presumption, which is that the worker is the one who must prove that his injury is compensable. The Commissioner and Full Commission both applied the presumption to this case, which resulted in the award of benefits to plaintiff.
CSH attorney Jamie Black took the case to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, arguing that the presumption should not have applied. The Court agreed with him and reversed the award of benefits.
By challenging the application of an inappropriate presumption, CSH attorney Black was able to relieve his clients of a long-term burden of paying benefits it did not owe.
Disclaimer: The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.
The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or law firm's past results.