TTD Benefits Upheld in Georgia After Failed Response to Discovery Request


Ready Mix USA, Inc. v. Ross

The Court of Appeals affirmed the award of temporary total disability benefits for a back injury caused by work after the employer and its insurer failed to respond to discovery requests or appear at the hearing before the ALJ.  The Court held that the hearing notice itself and the statements of claimant's counsel constituted some competent evidence to support a finding that the defendants had been provided with adequate notice of the hearing.  The Court held that the ALJ did not err in admitting medical records, even though claimant failed to provide a copy of the records to the defendants prior to the hearing, and the record evidence supported the ALJ's finding the claimant was totally disabled and unable to work until his next doctor's appointment or pending further treatment. 

Terrell B. Ross injured his back during the course of his employment with Ready Mix USA, Inc. a/k/a Aggregates USA ("Ready Mix") and filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Following a hearing at which Ready Mix and its insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company ("Liberty Mutual"), failed to appear, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") of the State Board of Worker's Compensation (the "Board") awarded Ross temporary total disability benefits ("TTD"), authorized certain medical procedures, and ordered the assessment of attorney fees and litigation expenses in favor of Ross.

On appeal, the Employer/Insurer challenged the ALJ's denial of their request for a new trial based on lack of notice, as well as their request to withdraw their admission the claimant suffered a disability.  They also challenged introduction of medical records not sent to them by the claimant prior to trial.

The Court found there was adequate evidence the Employer/Insurer got notice of the trial and hearing, and the ALJ did not abuse its discretion in admitting the medical records into evidence.  The Court found there were competent substantial record evidence to support the ALJ's findings and rulings.

The Court affirmed the ALJ's order in all respects.

About The Author:

Rayford H. Taylor is an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.  He is a member of The Florida Bar and the State Bar of Georgia, and practices in the areas of administrative and governmental law, appellate practice, legislative consultation, and workers' compensation.He has practiced law in Georgia since 2002 and in Florida  since 1974. Prior to entering the private practice of law, he was affiliated with The Florida Bar for more than 12 years where he served as its general counsel and legislative counsel.

Mr. Taylor is with the Law Firm of Casey Gilson, P.C., and is a member of the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network.

His full bio is available here.

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