Volume 1, Issue 1 December 2008 The Mississippi Bar Workers Compensation Section Our Work and Our Clients Letter From the Section Chair Special points of interest: This is the first ever e- Jim Anderson, one of newsletter of the Workers’ our section members, is • The Employer/Carrier Compensation Section, and the chair of the MS Work- I am most appreciative of ers’ Compensation Educa- Attorney’s Perspective Amanda Green Alexander’s tional Association and is hard work putting it to- hard at work on the annual • The Claimant’s gether. Please remember conference scheduled for Attorney Perspective to thank Amanda the next April 22-24, 2009, at the time you see her. Beau Rivage in Biloxi, • Views from the Bench Your new executive MS. Jim has requested committee held an organ- that the section be respon- • Kids’ Chance izational meeting on Sep- sible for one of the educa- tember 5, 2008, to discuss tional programs at the con- • Calendar of Events plans and goals for the new ference, and the executive Betty Arinder year. Our two primary committee has agreed. We goals are to strengthen the are working with Jim to relationship between the plan an informative pro- tournament as she has Section and the Mississippi gram for the attendees of details. Lydia Quarles and Workers’ Compensation the conference. We also Judge Lott have agreed to Commission and to provide voted to establish and pre- once again organize the more service to our mem- sent at the conference the annual Power Behind the bers. Kenneth G. Perry Profes- Throne seminar for work- sionalism Award. A com- ers’ compensation parale- The executive commit- mittee consisting of mem- gals. The seminars that tee voted to move our sec- bers of the section from the they and others have pro- tion meetings to the Com- north, south and central vided in the past have been mission. Chairman Wil- sections of the state as popular with the parale- liams has graciously al- well as your chair and a gals, and I am sure they will lowed us access to the Full representative from Shell not disappoint with the Commission hearing room Buford will set criteria for 2009 program. Please for our meetings. We will the award, accept nomina- encourage your paralegals hold quarterly meetings to tions from the members to attend. which all section members and select the recipient of are invited. The meeting In closing, I would like the award. You will receive to encourage each of you dates are December 1, notification of the criteria 2008; March 2, 2009; and to let me or other members via email and be asked for of the executive committee June 1, 2009, at 4:00 p.m. nominations after the first Each meeting is scheduled know of any suggestions of the year. you may have to make our for Monday, because the members of the executive Another of our section section more useful to its committee hope that more members, Lindsay Varna- members. We are all here of the judges and commis- doe, has agreed to chair a to serve the section. sioners will be able to at- committee that will be re- tend the meetings. We sponsible for organizing a tennis tournament to raise Sincerely yours, also hope for more section member availability. After money for the Kids’ Chance Betty Burton Arinder each meeting, we will ad- Scholarship Pro- journ to Nick’s for social gram. Lindsey will provide time. more information to the members regarding the PAGE 2 OUR WORK AND OUR CL IENTS The Employer/Carrier Attorney’s Perspective By: Lindsay Varnadoe Greetings Section ion as to how the case Members! When I was should ultimately be re- asked to write this article, I solved. I have discovered wasn’t exactly certain how that the most reasonable to best approach the topic. result for every claim can Would this need to be a usually be found some- proper legal article with where in the middle of the cites and footnotes? Or Claimant’s second or third could I just write what was counter offer and my initial on my mind and see how it offer of settlement. Of was received? I’ve opted course, it may take us sev- for the "write what’s on my eral months (or years) to mind" and will hope for the reach that stage, but Lindsay Varnado best. we get there eventually. I have been practicing As attorneys, I think it in the workers’ compensa- is vital for us to remember tion arena for almost 4 that when we receive these years now. During that files from our clients, we About the Author time, I have learned one aren’t just receiving claim Lindsay E. Varnadoe, is very important lesson for notes, some medical re- currently the managing defense attorneys to re- cords and a Petition in attorney for the Jackson, member: you aren’t just need of an Answer. We’re MS office of Allen, Kopet & dealing with papers and receiving an injured per- Associates, Inc., a south- deadlines, you’re son, their family (if they east regional law firm “..when we receive these based out of Chattanooga, also dealing with people. have one), their attorney, files from our clients, Too often, I think that we their physicians and the list Tennessee. She primarily treat our files as well, just goes on. Because the work- works in the areas of work- ….We’re receiving an ers’ compensation defense files. Pleadings, correspon- ers’ compensation section injured person, their dence, medical records, is small and close knit, it is and general insurance family (if they have one), affidavits, interview sum- very important to deal with defense. She is a member maries-the things that all of these individuals with of the Mississippi Bar Asso- their attorney, their make up file number 123- respect and honesty as ciation, the Madison physicians and the list 45678. But this isn’t just a your paths will likely cross County Bar Association, file; it’s also a person-most numerous times in the DRI, and is the current Vice goes on…” times numerous people. future. And honestly, re- Chair for the Workers’ When a defense attorney is membering those two Compensation Section of assigned to a file, he or she things makes it so much the Mississippi Bar. is not only given the task of easier to do your job and designing a defense strat- gain the best result for your egy; they are also receiv- client (well, at least in the- ing a claims adjuster, their ory it should). supervisor, a Claimant’s I hope that we all re- attorney (along with the member that our work is Claimant), an administra- important and the deci- tive judge, and all the sup- sions we make affect peo- port staff those positions ple’s lives. I’ll end with a entail. Keeping everything saying I heard from my cordial and communication mentor, Jim Anderson, at lines open between all of least a thousand times these parties is sometimes while we worked together, akin to walking a tight rope "Let’s go do good." with no safety net. People, you better have good bal- ance because each party usually has their own opin- VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3 The Claimant’s Attorney Perspective By Carlos E. Moore As a claimant’s attor- injured until proven a ma- ney for the past few years, I lingerer. Lately, it seems to have taken great pleasure me that most claimants in helping the truly injured are presumed to be malin- and downtrodden get some gerers until proven actually relief under the Mississippi injured on the job. Workers’ Compensation As a claimant’s attor- Law, codified at 71-3-1, MS ney, I can not place all the Code of 1972 Annotated. blame for the current While helping the other- worker’s compensation wise powerless in our great climate on other profes- state of Mississippi brings sionals in the workers’ me great joy, I am often compensation arena. A Carlos E. Moore offended by the growing few bad apples have his- skepticism of others in the torically spoiled the entire worker’s compensation bunch. I recognize that arena, i.e. HR profession- there have been a few als, claims adjusters, third malingerers that have tried About the Author party administrators, medi- to beat the system but Attorney Carlos E. Moore, a cal professionals and yes, from my experience that Moss Point native, is a solo defense counsel on occa- has been the exception practitioner and principal sion. There is just so much and not the norm. In Mis- of Moore Law Office, animus towards claimants sissippi, we like to hitch up PLLC which has offices these days. I just don’t our britches as Governor in both Grenada and Jack- believe that most would Barbour loves to say and son, Mississippi. Carlos “I recognize that there intentionally injure them- earn an honest day’s pay was recently named as the selves to get 2/3rds of for an honest day’s work “2008 Young Lawyer of the have been a few their average weekly wage for the most part. That is Year” by the MS Bar Young malingerers that have which is capped at the our nature and we must Lawyers Division. He is very state’s average and then active in several bar asso- tried to beat the system not forget that when one have to jump several hur- has the misfortune of being ciations, including the but from my experience dles just to get quality injured on the job, he does American Bar Association, healthcare. We, Mississip- National Bar Association, that has been the not become a part of the pians, have better things to bad element of the state. The Mississippi Bar, Mag- exception and not the do with our time. That individual deserves nolia Bar Association, Mis- norm.” If you are reading this respect and all of our sup- sissippi Association of Jus- article, I trust that you are port to get back up to tice, and the Grenada involved in some aspect speed and back to work. County Bar Association. He with the workers’ compen- When that is not possible, serves as Chairman of the sation system in our great injured workers deserve to Young Lawyers Division of state. Please join me in be compensated for their the National Bar Associa- making a more concerted disability and loss of wage tion, Chairman of the Diver- effort to give our state’s earning capacity as the sity in the Law Committee injured workers the same Workers’ Compensation for the MS Bar Young Law- respect that we give crimi- Law as enacted by our yers Division and Chair of nal defendants. Defen- state legislature mandates. the Minorities in the Pro- dants in our criminal jus- fession Committee for the tice system are presumed American Bar Association innocent until proven guilty Young Lawyers Divi- in a court of law. How I sion. He has been a mem- long for the day when the ber of the NBA Board of good people I represent Governors since 2006. and other similarly situated laborers across our state are presumed to be really PAGE 4 OUR WORK AND OUR CL IENTS Views from the Bench Part I: What’s Old Is New Again: Motions and Compensability Hearings By Judge Deneise Lott Motion Practice Pointers a motion hearing on the record. The Motions are an increasingly AJ will likely confer with both parties popular vehicle to move cases for- by phone before the motion hearing ward by solving problems that to confirm the need for a record, to threaten to fester or spiral out of con- clarify the scope of the hearing, and trol or delay the ultimate resolution of to ascertain the witnesses/proposed Judge Deneise Turner Lott a case. For example, a motion to exhibits the parties plan to call/ compel medical treatment or to re- introduce. quest a change in physician may re- Finally, please do not forget to solve a conflict over health care that call the Judge’s legal assistant as could easily derail or stall the pro- soon as possible upon the cancella- through correspondence, the PHS gress of a case. tion of any motion hearing. (pre-hearing statement) or a prehear- Parties may also file motions to ing conference in person or by phone. compel payment of indemnity bene- Compensability Hearings It is also important to conduct fits or even to request a status con- compensability hearings as soon as ference with the Judge. Be creative The Commission commonly con- ducts bifurcated hearings to decide possible because the claim is often in this arena. A late, great claimant’s stalled with claimant receiving little or attorney once filed a “Motion For Dry jurisdictional issues, such as whether a claim is barred by the statute of no medical care pending resolution of Chicken Job” because his client had the compensability issue. Claimant’s developed a rash in response to her limitations, whether an employer is subject to the Act, or whether the inability to receive health care after water-logged job at a chicken plant. an injury can delay if not jeopardize Commission has extraterritorial juris- Also, please remember that AJs diction of a claim, before it conducts his/her prospects for restoration to use every event on their docket as a hearings to determine the extent of health and vocational opportunity, disposition opportunity, so expect to disability. Compensability hearings – one of the two purposes of the Act discuss discovery deadlines and pros- hearings held at either party’s re- per Section 71-3-1. This situation pects for mediation and settlement quest to determine the compensabil- can also unnecessarily and unfairly during the motion hearing, even if the ity of a claim when that issue is con- expose the employer/carrier to in- motion is for a dry chicken job. tested by employer/carrier – are not creased liability for payment of medi- A motion should be filed with a new, but they are experiencing an cal and indemnity benefits. notice of hearing. Motions may be upward trend because parties need Compensability hearings may noticed for hearing on motion day but to resolve threshold issues sooner also allow the parties to avoid the are generally held by telephone, as rather than later. time and expense of litigating all the these can be heard almost any Mon- Compensability may be con- issues in a case, particularly perma- day or Friday without having to wait tested because, among other rea- nent disability. However, it may be until the Judge’s next regularly sched- sons, the employer denies that an better to wait and try all issues if uled motion day. Check with the AJ’s injury arose out of and in the course claimant has reached maximum legal assistant to determine whether of employment or because the medi- medical recovery and the parties are the AJ or the moving party will initiate cal evidence does not establish the just a final medical report or work the telephonic hearing. existence of a work-connected impair- search away from litigating the case Caveat: motion hearings gener- ment. Although compensability hear- to completion. Under these circum- ally are not stenographically recorded ings may address compensability stances, a full hearing on the merits because they involve only oral argu- alone, they more commonly address is generally more efficient than one ments or the consideration of docu- all issues to date, for example, claim- that is limited to the issue of compen- ments as opposed to live testimony. ant’s entitlement to medical benefits sability, but the parties and Commis- Please telephone the AJ or AJ’s legal and temporary total disability benefits sion must evaluate the readiness of assistant well before the motion hear- to date. It is important for the parties every claim for trial on a case-by-case ing to request an evidentiary hearing to confirm the scope of the hearing basis. and a court reporter if you would like with the AJ well before the hearing – Continued on Page 5 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 5 Views from the Bench, Continued from Page 4 Caveat: when submit- Question Number 13 which search list, and vocational is the first woman to hold ting a PHS on the issue of asks for claimant’s ratings reports. that position. She is cur- compensability alone, and restrictions, state that rently a member of the clearly indicate on the face this information is currently Mississippi Bar, the Admin- of the PHS that the hearing unavailable as claimant About the author: istrative Law and Workers’ will address compensability has not yet reached maxi- Judge Deneise Turner Lott Compensation Section, the only. Otherwise, the PHS mum medical improvement has served as an Adminis- Women in the Profession risks being rejected and and a hearing on compen- trative Judge with the Mis- Committee, the Mississippi returned to its sender. For sability only is requested. sissippi Workers’ Compen- Women Lawyers’ Associa- instance, title the PHS as a Ditto for requests for at- sation Commission since tion, and the National Asso- “PHS for Compensability tachments of claimant’s November 1988. She is ciation of Women Judges. Hearing.” In response to final medical report, work currently senior judge and Our Mission: Understanding Kids’ Chance What is Kids’ Chance? year of school as long as 1 deadline. Scholarships Kids’ Chance of Mississippi they make satisfactory will be awarded in late is a scholarship fund estab- academic progress. In ad- June of each year and an- dition, applicants must nounced soon thereafter. “Kid’s Chance of lished by the Mississippi Bar Foundation under the demonstrate substantial The amount of each Kids’ Mississippi is a Administrative Law and financial need. Chance of Mississippi scholarship fund Workers’ Compensation Scholarship awarded is Section of the Mississippi decided by the Scholarship established..... to provide Scholarship Selection Committee; the amount of Bar to provide scholarships scholarships for children for children who have had The Kids’ Chance of Missis- the scholarship(s) awarded sippi Scholarship Commit- is undetermined at this who have had a parent a parent killed or perma- nently and totally disabled tee reviews all applications time. The application and killed or permanently on the job. Kids’ Chance of and recommends recipi- required documents should ents to the foundation’s be sent to: Administrative and totally disabled on Mississippi provides schol- arships for students to board of trustees. The com- Law and Workers’ Compen- the job.” attend vocational/technical mittee is made up of repre- sation Section, Mississippi school or college. The fund sentatives from the legal Bar Foundation, Post Office brings together all those community, the medical Box 2168, Jackson, Missis- involved in workers’ com- profession, insurance com- sippi 39225-2168. pensation issues: the legal, panies and insured em- medical and business com- ployers. Through the caring contributions of various Donations munities. members of the commu- As there is a large number nity, Kids’ Chance of Mis- of potentially eligible appli- Who is eligible to receive sissippi is able to give cants, funds to establish a Kids’ Chance of Missis- young people a chance to and continue the scholar- sippi Scholarship? further their education. ships are always needed. Mississippi residents be- Any donation to the fund is tween the ages of 17 and tax deductible under Sec- Applications tion 170 (c)(2) of the Inter- 23 who have had a parent killed or permanently and The time period for submit- nal Revenue Code. If you totally disabled in an acci- ting completed applica- wish to donate, please dent that is compensable tions and all supporting send your check made under the Mississippi documents with respect to payable to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation scholarships for each year Bar Foundation to: H. Act may apply for the schol- runs until May 1 of each Byron Carter, III, Carter & arship. The scholarship is year. Applications and sup- Usry, P.A., Post Office Box good for one year, but re- porting information will not 720636, Jackson, Missis- cipients may apply each be accepted after the May sippi 39272-0636. The Mississippi Bar Workers Compensation Section P.O. Box 2168 Jackson, Mississippi 39225-2168 Calendar of Events Worker’s Compensation Section Meeting Dates All meetings will be held at the MS Worker’s Compensation Commission in Jackson, MS in the Rene’ Garner Full Commission hearing room at 4:00 p.m. Section and Division Coordinator December 1, 2008 Phone: 601-355-9226 Fax: 601-355-8635 March 2, 2009 Email: email@example.com June 1, 2009 Networking Social at Nick’s Restaurant immediately following each meeting. All section members are encouraged to attend. The Power Behind the Throne Seminar April 16, 2009 We’re on the Web! www.msbar.org/7_worke MS Workers' Compensation Commission rs_compensation.php Annual Educational Conference April 22-24, 2009 Workers Compensation Section Officers Chair About the Editor - Amanda Green Alexander Betty Arinder firstname.lastname@example.org Vice-Chair Amanda Green Alexander, a native of Lindsay Varnadoe Kokomo, Mississippi, is a shareholder email@example.com of Alexander & Watson, P.A. in Jack- son, Mississippi. She represents both Secretary self-insured employers and insurance Gary K. Jones companies in the areas of worker’s firstname.lastname@example.org compensation, labor and employ- ment law. She is a member of the Treasurer Mississippi Bar Association, the Dis- Pepper Cossar trict of Columbia Bar Association, the email@example.com Hinds County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division of the Mississippi Past Chair Bar, the Magnolia Bar Association, Marjorie O'Donnell Executive Board Member of the firstname.lastname@example.org Worker’s Compensation Section and Amanda Green Alexander Women in the Profession of the Mis- Executive Committee sissippi Bar. She is a certified “Kids Willie Terrell Abston Chance” mediator of the Mississippi email@example.com Worker’s Compensation Commission and serves as President of the Mis- Special Thanks: Amanda Green Alexander sissippi Women Lawyers’ Association. Special Thanks to our contributing firstname.lastname@example.org writers and to Rene’ Garner at The If you are interested in submitting an Mississippi Bar for assisting with Orlando “Rod” Richmond, Sr. article or would like to announce editing and distribution of our 1st email@example.com upcoming worker’s compensation issue of Our Work and Our Clients. events, please forward this informa- George E. Read tion to Amanda Green Alexander, firstname.lastname@example.org Alexander & Watson, P.A. at email@example.com
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