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Court Of Appeals

COURT OF APPEALS

By Chad Snow, Founding Partner

CLIENTS OFTEN ASK WHAT WE CAN DO IF THEY LOSE AT THEIR INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION HEARING. THE ANSWER MOST OF THE TIME IS “NOT MUCH”.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE APPEAL RIGHTS FOLLOWING AN UNFAVORABLE DECISION AT THE ICA. THE FIRST STEP IS TO FILE A “REQUEST FOR REVIEW” WITH THE JUDGE THAT MADE THE UNFAVORABLE DECISION. THIS IS A RATHER INFORMAL APPEAL THAT SHOULD POINT OUT TO THE JUDGE WHY YOU THINK HIS OR HER DECISION IS INCORRECT. THESE ARE GENERALLY UNSUCCESSFUL – THINK ABOUT IT – HOW LIKELY IS THE JUDGE TO ADMIT THAT THEY WERE WRONG?

THE JUDGE THEN ISSUES A DECISION ON REVIEW EITHER OVERTURNING OR UPHOLDING THEIR ORIGINAL DECISION. THE INJURED WORKER THEN HAS 30 DAYS TO FILE A PETITION FOR SPECIAL ACTION WITH THE ARIZONA COURT OF APPEALS.

THIS STARTS THE PROCESS OF THE APPEAL.

LATER, THE PERSON APPEALING THE DECISION HAS TO FILE A LEGAL BRIEF WITH THE COURT EXPLAINING THE FLAWS IN THE ALJ’S DECISION. THIS ARGUMENT SHOULD BE LIMITED TO LEGAL ERRORS IN THE DECISION SUCH AS THE CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE OR MISAPPLICATION OF THE LAW. FACTUAL ISSUES SUCH AS WHICH DOCTOR’S OPINION IS MORE LIKELY CORRECT ARE ALMOST ALWAYS UPHELD BY THE COURT OF APPEALS.

I’VE HAD SEVERAL CASES AT THE COURT OF APPEALS OVER THE YEARS. THEY ARE VERY TIME CONSUMING AND DIFFICULT TO PURSUE. HOWEVER, THE COURT WILL OVERTURN CASES WHERE OBVIOUS LEGAL ERRORS OR ABUSES OF DISCRETION HAVE OCCURRED.

ANYONE CONSIDERING AN APPEAL TO THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY WHO HANDLES EXCLUSIVELY ARIZONA WORKERS COMPENSATION CASES.