Baker's Appeal of Dismissal for Oversleeping Hearing Falls Short

18 Jan, 2023 Frank Ferreri

                               

Phoenix, AZ (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Deadlines and scheduling are important in the world of workers' compensation claims and appeals, and while some dates and times can be changed or excused, there almost always has to be a good reason.

In Chacon v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, No. 1 CA-IC 22-0024 (Ariz. Ct. App. 01/12/23, unpublished), an Arizona court decided that a worker's failure to appeal on time after having his case dismissed when he overslept and missed a hearing wasn't one of those good reasons.

'Overly Exhausted'

A baker for a food producer filed a claim for workers’ compensation that was denied by the employer’s carrier. He then requested a hearing before an administrative law judge. The request was granted and a hearing scheduled, but the baker failed to appear, so the ALJ dismissed the claim as abandoned. 

A week later, the ALJ issued an award confirming the dismissal and informing the parties that they had file a written request for administrative review within 30 days. 

More than 30 days later, the baker filed a request for review, stating that he was not present at the hearing because he was “overly exhausted” from work, causing him to “sleep in” past the hearing time. 

The ALJ affirmed the award because the baker’s request for review was untimely and his failure to appear at the hearing was without good cause. 

The baker appealed to court. 

'Meritorious Reason'

Under Arizona law, when a claimant seeks relief from a finding that the claimant’s request for review was untimely, an ALJ must consider whether a meritorious reason exists for the untimely filing. 

In this case, the baker didn’t have a meritorious – or any other -- reason for the late filing. 

“The record does not reveal any reason why [the baker] filed his review request late, so he failed to establish good cause for the late filing,” the court wrote. “Even in his appellate briefing, he has not explained why he failed to meet the 30-day deadline.” 

The court emphasized that the baker: 

  • Was informed of the deadline 
  • Knew of the deadline’s importance 
  • Did not have good cause for failing to appear at the hearing 

As a result, the court upheld the award dismissing his claim.

Get full-text decisions and case summaries from every state on WorkCompResearch


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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