WORKERS' COMPENSATION - EX PARTE HANVEY
Ex parte Hanvey, [Ms. 1131235, Jan. 30, 2015] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2015). The Supreme Court here reverses a holding by the Court of Civil Appeals on the issue of whether the evidence supported the trial court's award of permanent-total-disability benefits. The Madison Circuit Court held that Lisa Hanvey had suffered a compensable injury caused by her exposure to chemical fumes during her employment with Madison Academy, Inc. The circuit court held that this exposure caused a worsening of her underlying myasthenia gravis "and not merely a recurrence of symptoms inherent in the etiology of the preexisting condition." The Court of Civil Appeals held that the flare-up of her myasthenia gravis was only temporary because the flare-up had been resolved with medications and Hanvey had been in remission. The Supreme Court discussed the evidence in detail and held that the medical testimony demonstrated that any attempt by Hanvey to engage in the type of physical labor she was able to perform before her exposure to chemicals would cause her myasthenia gravis to become symptomatic. Hanvey's job as a janitor required very physical work and also required that she be exposed to chemicals. For permanent total disability, "[a] worker is not required to be totally helpless; he simply must be unable to perform his trade or obtain other gainful employment." "Moreover, '[t]he determination of the extent of disability is within the trial court's discretion and cannot be disturbed on appeal if there is evidence to support it.'" This is an opinion by Justice Bolin with Chief Justice Moore and Justices Stuart, Parker, Shaw, Main, Wise, and Bryan concurring, and Justice Murdock dissenting.
Related Documents: ex_parte_hanvey_13015