Flowers v. Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc.

Levon Flowers made a workers' compensation claim against his former employer Crown Cork & Seal USA. The Supreme Court granted Crown’s petition for certiorari to review the compensability of a foot injury Flowers sustained in 2007. The Workers’ Compensation Commission denied Flowers’s request for permanent disability benefits for this injury and awarded temporary total disability benefits for the period between the injury and the date Flowers was cleared by his doctor to return to work. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Flowers was entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits until he reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) for his foot injury, which had not yet been determined by his doctors. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals reached the correct result in this case, but the Supreme Court reached that conclusion based on different precedent. The record in this case reflected that Crown refused to reinstate or rehire Flowers after his doctors released him to return to work. There was also evidence that Flowers underwent an unsuccessful search for alternative employment after Crown refused to rehire him. However, the ALJ and the Commission did not determine when Flowers reached MMI for his foot injury. From the testimony of Flowers' doctor, Flowers had not yet reached MMI as of January 14, 2008. Therefore, this case was not controlled by the Court's holding in "Jordan:" "[the Court] reiterate[d] that it is a primary duty of the Commission to analyze the evidence and determine whether and when a claimant has reached MMI. [. . .] After determining when Flowers reached MMI for his foot injury, the Commission must decide from the evidence presented whether Flowers is entitled to permanent disability benefits." View "Flowers v. Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc." on Justia Law