Change to Framework for Proving Disability in North Carolina Supreme Court’s Landmark Wilkes Decision

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In addition to creating a medical presumption for accepted claims, the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in Wilkes v. City of Greenville has significantly altered the landscape for proving disability.  The Court has held that an employee can prove a disability outside of the four methods outlined in Russell v. Lowes Product Distribution.  The Court…

Landmark Decision by North Carolina Supreme Court: Practical Implications for Claims Administration Following Wilkes

On Friday, June 9, 2017, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued its eagerly anticipated decision in Wilkes v. City of Greenville, in significant part, unanimously affirming the Court of Appeals. Wilkes involves two primary issues. First, whether Johnnie Wilkes failed to meet his burden of establishing that his anxiety and depression were the result of…

NC COA Examines Whether an Employee’s Injury Arose Out of and in the Course of His Employment When Commission Finds Employee Was “Joyriding”

When Plaintiffs are injured at work under circumstances which raise the question of whether the precipitating activity was “in furtherance of” versus “incidental to” the job duties assigned and the employer’s interest, the North Carolina Courts will look closely at the nature of the activity and the behavior immediately prior to the incident to determine…

Attendant Care in Post-Reform North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claims

In recent years, attendant care provided under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act has gotten quite a bit of attention in the appellate courts and at the General Assembly.  In particular, the Court of Appeals’ 2011 decision in Shackleton v. Southern Flooring & Acoustical Company presented a challenge for employers.  Reversing the Commission’s denial of an attendant…

North Carolina Court of Appeals Rules Drug Test, Background Check Constitutes “Last Act” Necessary to Create Employment Contract

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In Holmes v. Associate Pipe Line Contractors, Inc., the Court of Appeals determined that post-offer contingencies, such as background checks and drug testing, constitute the “last act” necessary to create a contract of employment. On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff, who was living in North Carolina, was contacted via telephone by a union representative and offered…

North Carolina: Patillo v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company: Another Review of the Parsons Presumption and Reasonableness of a Job Search

Last winter we examined the Court of Appeals decision in Wilkes v. City of Greenville and its seemingly a radical extension of the Parsons presumption to injuries not initially accepted as part of the claim.  The decision Wilkes was appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court and is set for oral argument in mid-February 2017. …

North Carolina Court of Appeals Determines Parsons Presumption Applies to New Injury to Accepted Body Part

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On May 12, 2007, Plaintiff was working as a tire builder for Defendant-Employer, and sustained injury to her right shoulder. Defendants accepted the right shoulder as compensable. Plaintiff underwent surgery and returned to work. Plaintiff sustained a number of exacerbations to the right shoulder over the course of her claim. Following one incident in 2010,…

Case Law Update: Attendant Care

Thompson v. International Paper Co. On February 23, 2012, Darrell Thompson was involved in an at-work accident and suffered severe burns that covered more than 23% of his body, mostly to his left shoulder and arm.  Following the injury, Mr. Thompson underwent three major skin graft surgeries and received treatment from several providers at the…

Industrial Commission News

Chairman Charlton Allen has been appointed for a four-year term as chairman through December 30, 2020. Yolanda Stith has been appointed as the newest commissioner. She will serve the remaining two and half years of Andrew Heath’s original term and then an additional six-year term. Of that time, she will serve a four-year term as…