eNotes – Workers’ Compensation – February 2022 – Washington, DC
February 21, 2022
SIGNFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
DC CASE SUMMARY
Howard University Hospital, et al. v. Lyles, et al.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Decided: January 27, 2022
When judging permanency, apportionment is not permitted for preexisting conditions allowed; whether Employers are entitled to a dollar-for-dollar credit for any previous permanency payments remains undecided
Claimant sustained a prior injury to the right arm in 2011 while working for a different employer, and his claim for injury was settled. In 2013 he sustained a new injury to the same arm, and filed for a permanency award. The 2013 Employer sought apportionment of the permanency award. The ALJ awarded 30% to the right arm, with 20% attributable to the 2011 injury and 10% attributable to the 2013 injury. Employer argued it was only responsible for the 10% attributable to the 2013 injury. The CRB indicated that the Employer could be entitled to a dollar for dollar credit for any previous permanency payments for the same body part, but then concluded the issue was not raised by the Employer to be decided.
Ultimately, the CRB held that apportionment is not allowed for preexisting conditions. Employer appealed.
The Court agreed with the CRB that apportionment is not permitted under the statute. The Court stated in a footnote, that it was not ruling on merit of a dollar for dollar credit that would prevent double recovery, as the issue was not before it.
Although apportionment has been eliminated, the potential for dollar credit for prior permanency awards remains to be determined. Given other recent decisions by the CRB wherein the policy of preventing for double recovery has been favored, we remain hopeful that the CRB will eventually address the issue of credit favorably for Employers.
Questions about this case can be directed to Jamie L. DeSisto, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 641-0558.