Permanent Partial Disability Award Does Not Include Disability
State, ex rel. Holman v. Longfellow Restaurant (7/3/96), 76 Ohio St.3d 44.
Issue: Should the Commission take disability factors into account when making a permanent partial disability award?
Background: Holman worked as a waitress and injured her low back. In 1990 she received a permanent partial award. In 1992 additional conditions were allowed (arthritic changes L4- 5 and L5-S1) and Holman filed for an increase in permanent partial disability. The Commission denied her request for an increase based on medical reports of Drs. B and L and a consideration of Holman’s age, education, work history. Holman filed a mandamus challenge to this order in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals granted mandamus.
Decision: Ohio Supreme Court reverses.
The Court rules that the Commission does not abuse its discretion basing a permanent partial award on medical or clinical findings. It overrules State ex rel. Dickey-Grabler v. Indus. Comm. (1992), 63 Ohio St.3d 465 (disability factors to be considered in permanent partial awards.)
R.C. Section 4123.57(A) [formerly (B)] can be interpreted in different ways. The Court reviews the statutory history and says the history undermines Holman’s argument that the legislature clearly intended to include non-medical disability factors in a permanent partial award.
Editor’s Comment: It is not often the Court reverses itself within four years.
After this decision, the Industrial Commission issued Resolution R96- 1-04 which ordered hearing officers in permanent partial cases to issue their decisions solely based on the medical evidence.
It is interesting that the Commission ignored Dickey-Grabler for four years, but issued a resolution immediately on the issuance of this case directing hearing officers not to consider disability factors on permanent partial disability awards.