Friday, March 20, 2009

No New Survivor Claims on Cases Closed Before Schoemehl

The court of appeals once again addresses attempts to add survivors after a claimant has a final award, and then dies. In Lawson, Tyson, and Graves v Treasurer of the St. of Mo, the southern district in a judicial hat trick denies three cases at once filed by the same attorney. The original motions in this case to set aside termination of benefits have worked their way through the appeal system, and had been originally filed in January 2007, two days after the Schoemehl decision.

None of the cases had been appealed nor had any determination been made whether the employees had any dependents. The Commission had terminated benefits upon death of the original claimants. The cases were not pending between the window when Schoemehl was decided on January 9, 2007 and June 26, 2006, the effective dates of the new amendments, abrogating Scheomehl’s application.

The court found the Commission dismissed the motions properly based on lack of jurisdiction, following the western district’s decision in Bennett v Treasurer of Mo., 271 S.W.3d 49 (Mo. App. WD 2008).

Claimant’s counsel had raised an argument, that is briefly discussed in fn. 3, that the Commission lacked authority to terminate benefits based on a change of condition when the change of condition is not casually related to their work injuries.

SD 28541, 28543 (Mo. App. 3-19-09)