TT&H Attorney Mike Bliley Wins Unanimous Reversal Before the Court of Appeals of Virginia in a Workers’ Compensation Action
May 12, 2021
Attorney Mike Bliley recently prevailed on a workers’ compensation case before the Virginia Court of Appeals. The matter involved an extensive appellate history, having passed through the Court of Appeals once before, only to return falling a remand from the Virginia Supreme Court, who issued a decision in October 2020. The Supreme Court reinstated the limited definition of injury, reversing bad law that would have expanded liability. The case was then remanded to the Court of Appeals to apply the correct standard. Thereafter, on May 11, 2021, Mike won yet another unanimous reversal, marking the first time in history that an attorney secured a reversal of law before the Supreme Court of Virginia, and a reversal of fact before the Court of Appeals of Virginia, in the same workers’ compensation case.
The matter involved a teacher for the Alexandria City Public Schools who slipped on hand sanitizer and fell on her right side. She alleged a shoulder injury, even though there was no injury diagnosis and no evidence that she suffered anything more than transient pain. The Commission nevertheless found that the Claimant was entitled to lifetime medical benefits for her right shoulder. The Court of Appeals initially affirmed, but did so with a completely different analysis that expanded workers’ compensation liability. The Court of Appeals held that a claimant must only prove an injury to one body part, with all claimed injuries to any body part then being deemed compensable. On further appeal, The Virginia Supreme Court accepted Mike’s argument and unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision, reinstating the limited definition of injury and remanding the matter to the Court of Appeals to apply the correct law. As mentioned above, Mike then won again, this time before the Court of Appeals, who agreed that the Claimant had not suffered a legitimate shoulder injury and was not eligible for lifetime medical benefits.
Mike Bliley is the head of TT&H’s Virginia Workers’ Compensation Practice Group. He can be contacted at (571) 464-0435 or firstname.lastname@example.org