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Employment Law

A Remand To the Workers’ Compensation Commission is not a Final Decision that Can be Appealed Pursuant to Bone v. United States Food Services

In Martinez v. Spartanburg County, the supreme court held that the court of appeals erred by hearing an appeal from a circuit court decision, and remanded the case to the Workers’ Compensation Committee.

Raquel Martinez was a master deputy forensic investigator.  She had investigated an accident where a police officer, and former coworker of Martinez, had driven a car over his daughter, killing her.  Thereafter, Martinez suffered a mental breakdown and filed a workers’ compensation claim.  Continue reading

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Anesthetist Was an Employee of a Hospital for Purposes of Workers’ Compensation Laws

In Shatto v. McLeod Regional Medical Center, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ holding in Shatto v. McLeod Regional Medical Center, 394 S.C. 552, 716 S.E.2d 446 (Ct. App. 2011), and held that the certified nurse anesthetist in the case was an employee and not an independent contractor within meaning of the Workers’ Compensation laws.

Mildred Shatto was a certified nurse anesthetist hired by the McLeod Regional hospital in Florence through a nurse staffing agency, Staff Care Inc.  Shatto did not have an employment agreement with McLeod.  There were two relevant contracts: Shatto’s contract with Staff Care (“the Provider Agreement”) and Staff Care’s contract with McLeod Regional (“the Staffing Agreement”).

While helping anesthetize a patient in an operating room, Shatto fell and was injured.  She brought workers’ compensation claims against both McLeod and Staff Care.  Staff Care answered with a general denial, while McLeod at first admitted she was a hospital employee, but later amended its position denying the existence of an employment relationship.  Continue reading

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A Temporarily Disabled Employee who Receives Work Does Not Have an Absolute Right to Disobey Employer Rules

In Pollack v. Southern Wine & Spirits of America, the supreme court affirmed a Workers’ Compensation Commission’s denial of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits where the employee was accommodated to a light duty position and was fired for failing to comply with work rules.

Pollack was a drivers’ supervisor for Southern Wine & Spirits of America (“Southern Wine”).  While lifting a case of alcohol, Pollack injured his back.  He saw a physician and returned to work five days later with work restrictions.  Southern Wine accommodated his injury, assigning him to light duty in the same position as before at the same salary.

Two months after his injury, he responded to an accident involving a vehicle assigned to another employee.  Pollack completed his investigation of the accident, and as he was leaving, his company vehicle hit the side of the other employee’s company vehicle.  Pollack said the vehicles were not damaged and decided not to report the accident.  The other employee reported the accident.  Continue reading

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“Physical Brain Damage” Means Permanent Brain Damage

In Sparks v. Palmetto Hardwood, Inc., Justice Pleicones, writing for a unanimous court, held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s interpretation of “physical brain damage” as permanent brain damage did not conflict with the statute’s plain language.

Sparks worked for Palmetto Hardwood as a saw operator.  While he was removing a piece of metal from under a gang saw,—which he was required to do—the metal exploded and a three to four inch cubic piece struck him in the head. Continue reading

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