Linking previously denied condition to current one

A summary judgment victory is rare in a workers' compensation case, as there is almost always a genuine issue of material fact - i.e. a disagreement between the expert medical witnesses. Thus, almost every workers' compensation case, the case will proceed through an extensive litigation, which unfortunately means litigation expenses for the employer. However, the norm does not mean counsel cannot attempt to think outside of the box.

Our client, a grocery retailer, was faced with an employee who was asking for a psychological amendment for Depressive Disorder to a previous claim. The employee had had four previous back surgeries. If granted, there would likely be a finding of permanent total disability.

In working with a psychological expert, we were able to demonstrate to the judge the psychological condition alleged to be a part of the claim was actually the same as a condition previously denied. As such, there was not a genuine issue of material fact to be litigated. Thus, the employer was able to save the expense and stress of going to trial and obtained a favorable outcome early in the litigation.