North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Case Reversed by the NC Supreme Court

March 24, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

On March 12th, the Supreme Court of North Carolina reversed a decision by the Court of Appeals on the hot button North Carolina workers’ compensation case of Robert Baxter vs. Denny Nicholson, Inc.

The Background

Truck driver Robert Baxter worked for Denny Nicholson. After an injury at work, he filed for workers’ compensation. A dispute arose. Thus, in February 2007, the matter came before the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), which voted 2-to-1 in favor of the plaintiff. Baxter was awarded $359 a week in North Carolina workers’ compensation payments along with fees for his attorney’s costs and a 10% penalty. However, after the NCIC signed the agreement — and BEFORE it could be filed — then-Governor Mike Easley replaced NCIC Commissioner Thomas Bolch with a new person, Danny McDonald.

Following this power shift at the NCIC, the defendants in this North Carolina workers’ compensation case appealed that, because Bolch was not actually in office when the workers’ comp award was filed, the decision should be invalidated. The Court of Appeals agreed with the defendant’s arguments, voided the award to Baxter, and called for a rehearing by the NCIC.

Baxter appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, which found that Bolch’s powers to adjudicate this North Carolina workers’ compensation case were valid at the time, despite the fact that he was ultimately replaced. An attorney for the plaintiff pointed to a 1918 court case, which discussed how important it is to prevent voiding decisions that are made during successions to avoid undue disruption to the court process.

A Fascinating Case, But How Does It Apply to You?

All of this theory about North Carolina workers’ compensation law aside, many people out there have practical questions about how to handle insurance companies and issues with benefits. Rather than struggling on your own to plot a strategy, it may behoove you to connect ASAP with a qualified and credentialed North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney for a free and candid and confidential consultation.

More Web Resources:

Baxter vs. Danny Nicholson, Inc.

Danny Nicholson Inc. of Lexington


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