Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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Jessica Barr appealed an Idaho Industrial Commission (Commission) decision finding her ineligible for unemployment benefits and affirming the decision of an Appeals Examiner for the Idaho Department of Labor’s (IDOL) Appeals Bureau. The Commission found that Barr was discharged by her employer, Citicorp Credit Services, Inc. USA (Citicorp), for misconduct in connection with employment and determined that Barr was not eligible for benefits pursuant to Idaho Code section 72-1366(5). Barr argued that Citicorp representatives provided false information to the Appeals Examiner and her unemployment benefits should have been restored. Finding that the Commission's decision was supported by substantial and competent evidence, the Supreme Court affirmed the IDOL Appeals Examiner's decision. View "Barr v. CitiCorp Credit Svc" on Justia Law

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In 2008, Joseph Gerdon was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident that arose out of and in the course of his employment. He was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by a coworker, who drove off the road. The Industrial Commission awarded Gerdon benefits. Gerdon requested a hearing to determine whether he was also entitled to benefits for a compensable psychological injury. That issue was heard before a referee, who issued proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation that Gerdon had failed to prove that he was entitled to additional psychological care. The Commission adopted the referee’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and issued an order. Gerdon appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. Because the Commission’s decision was based upon its constitutional right to weigh the evidence and determine the credibility of conflicting expert opinions, the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's order. View "Gerdon v. Con Paulos, Inc." on Justia Law

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While claimant-appellant Judith Weible was employed by Safeway, Inc., she requested time off because she had to have surgery. Safeway granted her request and agreed to hold her job until she was able to return to work, which she intended to do. She was gone for approximately six weeks. While on leave, claimant applied for unemployment benefits. She was denied because during her leave of absence she was still employed, even though she was not working. An appeals examiner upheld the denial, and the Industrial Commission upheld the appeals examiner. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission. View "Weible v. Dept of Labor" on Justia Law

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Respondent-Appellant Pneumotech, Inc. appealed the Industrial Commission's determination that its former employee, Petitioner-Appellee Angela Hopkins, was eligible for unemployment benefits. Pneumotech hired Petitioner as a bookkeeper and receptionist on July 3, 1995. She worked at Pneumotech until June 22, 2010, when her supervisor fired her. The same month, Petitioner filed a claim for unemployment benefits with the Idaho Department of Labor. At the hearing, Pneumotech presented testimony that Petitioner was discharged because: (1) for two years she had been habitually late for work; (2) she took time off without supervisor permission; (3) she took sick time off but went to the water park instead; (4) she spent time at work playing video games and talking on her cell phone; and (5) she failed to help train a new employee when asked. Petitioner denied all of these accusations, including that her supervisor had repeatedly warned her that her conduct was unacceptable. In fact, the supervisor testified that Petitioner never received a written warning or suspension, and in January 2009, she received a $2-per-hour raise. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the Commission did not abuse its discretion or violate Pneumotech's right to procedural due process in denying the company's request for a new hearing. Furthermore, substantial and competent evidence supported the Commission's decision to uphold Petitioner's award of unemployment benefits. Accordingly, the Court affirmed. View "Hopkins v. Pneumotech, Inc." on Justia Law

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Claimant-Appellant Dennis Current appealed the Idaho Industrial Commission's denial of his unemployment benefits. Claimant argued that the Commission erred in finding he willfully made a false statement, and in failing to call one of his witnesses. The Department of Labor argued the Commission's findings were supported by substantial and competent evidence. The Supreme Court found that there was indeed substantial and competent evidence to support the Commission's findings that Claimant willfully made a false statement. The Court also found that the hearing officer did not abuse her discretion in finding that one of Claimant's witnesses would not provide relevant testimony. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission's decision. View "Current v. Haddons Fencing, Inc. " on Justia Law

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Claimant-Appellant William Rigoli appealed an Industrial Commission's decision that found him ineligible for unemployment benefits because he was discharged for misconduct in connection with his employment. Claimant worked as a toy department manager for Respondent Wal-Mart, and was fired for using foul language and leaving before his assigned shift was completed. Initially, Claimant was determined by the Department of Labor to be eligible for unemployment benefits, but his employer appealed his eligibility. The Department ultimately concluded that Claimant was ineligible, and he appealed to the Industrial Commission. The Commission upheld the Department's conclusion and denied benefits. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that there was substantial and competent evidence the Commission relied upon to conclude that Claimant was discharged for employment-related misconduct, and, therefore, was ineligible for unemployment benefits. View "Rigoli v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

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Claimant David Tarbet worked for Employer J.R. Simplot Company for thirty-six years until an accident in 2007 left him totally and permanently disabled. The issue before the Industrial Commission (Commission) was whether Employer was liable for all or only a part of Claimant’s income benefits. If Claimant’s total disability resulted solely from the last accident, Employer would be liable for all of the income benefits. If his total disability resulted from the combined effects of both that injury and impairments that pre-existed that injury, then Employer was liable only for that portion of the income benefits for the disability caused by the accident, and the Industrial Special Indemnity Fund (ISIF) would be liable for the remainder. The Industrial Commission found that the April 2007 accident was Claimant’s final industrial accident, that he was totally and permanently disabled as a result of the final accident, and that the impairments that existed prior to that accident did not contribute to his total disability. It found that ISIF was not liable for Claimant’s benefits and dismissed the complaint against it. Employer then appealed. Upon review of the Commission's record, the Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission's order. View "Tarbet v. J.R. Simplot Co. " on Justia Law

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Petitioner Shanna Locker appealed the Industrial Commission’s (Commission) finding that she was insubordinate when she failed to provide a medical release at the request of her employer, Logan’s Foodtown. The Commission found that this constituted employment-related misconduct which rendered Petitioner ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Upon review of the record before the Commission, the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's decision. View "Locker v. How Soel, Inc " on Justia Law

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Appellant Lesia Knowlton appealed the Industrial Commission's determination that she was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Appellant was employed as a secretary at Respondent Wood River Medical Center. In 2000, Appellant was working at her assigned station when a drain in a nearby patient's bathroom became clogged. One of the maintenance workers used a chemical cleaner to clear the drain. The chemical produced a foul odor. Workers placed fans at the doorway of the room for ventilation. The air blew past Appellant's station from morning until her shift ended in the afternoon. That night, Appellant developed a cough and body aches. Her symptoms persisted, allegedly from exposure to the chemical drain cleaner. Over the course of five years, Appellant visited multiple doctors and specialists to treat her "bronchitis-like" symptoms. Appellant filed a complaint with the Industrial Commission seeking reimbursement for her medical expenses and for temporary total disability benefits. At a Commission hearing, the referee ultimately concluded that Appellant failed to demonstrate that her medical symptoms were causally related to the chemical exposure. Although the referee determined that Appellant was not entitled to "time loss" benefits or any form of disability benefits, he did find that because the medical treatment Appellant received during the six weeks following the incident was a "reasonable precautionary step" taken in response to the exposure, she was entitled to compensation for those expenses. The Commission adopted the referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Commission denied Appellant's motion for reconsideration. Subsequently Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed that Appellant failed to demonstrate her medical symptoms were related to the chemical exposure. Accordingly the Court affirmed the Commission's determination.