Court reverses lower court judge and denies workers comp to employee who fell in mens' room at work
If there remained any doubt about the Republican Party's dominant rejection of ordinary people and ordinary workers' interest, it was further confirmed this week, when a man who fell in his employer's restroom, while on duty, was denied workers compensation. Raymond Atwood testified that he lost his balance, attempted to steady himself using the sink vanity because of spilled water, but was unable to stop his fall. He was found unconscious in the bathroom by to co-worker/managers, who testified that the noticed no explanation for his fall.
The hearing officer found Atwood to be credible; found that he had no pre-existing condition that might have explained his fall, and ruled that he was entitled to workers compensation for a work-related injury. The employer's comp insurer appealed and the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC)--a political quagmire--overturned the hearing officer's decision. It ruled that Atwood carried the burden of proving a work-related cause of his fall and that Atwood had not met this burden.
To his credit, Judge Michael J. Kelly dissented from the Court of Appeals majority's decision affirming the MCAC. Judge Kelly pointed out that the hearing officer had a firm basis for finding a workplace-relationship to the fall and that he was the person in the best position to assess credibility. He would have required the comp carrier to pay the medical bills resulting from Atwood's fall.