Thursday, July 15, 2010

Judge bars testimony from ex parte contact

Claimant's direct supervisor was not allowed to testify on behalf of the claimant following ex parte contacts from claimant's counsel to prepare his testimony, in a ruling affirmed by the Commission. The administrative law judge concluded that any contact was not made with "improper" intent. The judge noted: in light of the employer being a governmental entity and the witness no longer being an employee of the employer, it is understandable that the employee’s attorney did not necessarily view the witness as a client of the employer and insurer.

Claimant, 63, received permanent total benefits following a back injury from unloading gravel which required kypoplasty for a burst fracture and resulted in permanent restrictions. The administrative law judge found claimant's testimony credible that claimant's advanced degenerative spinal disease was asymptomatic prior to the accident and claimant now experienced disabling pain that required him to lie down frequently. Claimant had been awarded social security benefits following the 2008 accident.

Lonnie Jones v Laclede County, DOLIR 7-15-10
ALJ Wilson
Atty: Reichert, Weidner, Vessell, Rowe
Treater: Tabb, Harbach
Experts: Bennoch, Eldred, Corsolini, England