Ash v. Glaspell Lumber Co., 20-0607

Case DateJanuary 11, 2022
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

JUNE ASH, WIDOW OF ROY D. ASH, Claimant Below, Petitioner

GLASPELL LUMBER CO., INC., Employer Below, Respondent

No. 20-0607

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

January 11, 2022

(BOR Appeal No. 2055290) (Claim No. 2017002170)


Petitioner June Ash, widow of Roy D. Ash, by Counsel J. Thomas Greene Jr., appeals the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Board of Review ("Board of Review"). Glaspell Lumber Co., Inc., by Counsel H. Toney Stroud, filed a timely response.

The issue on appeal is dependent's benefits. The claims administrator denied a request for dependent's benefits on December 17, 2018. The Workers' Compensation Office of Judges ("Office of Judges") affirmed the decision in its April 20, 2020, Order. The Order was affirmed by the Board of Review on July 8, 2020.

The Court has carefully reviewed the records, written arguments, and appendices contained in the briefs, and the case is mature for consideration. The facts and legal arguments are adequately presented, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented, the Court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The standard of review applicable to this Court's consideration of workers' compensation appeals has been set out under W.Va. Code § 23-5-15, in relevant part, as follows:

(b)In reviewing a decision of the board of review, the supreme court of appeals shall consider the record provided by the board and give deference to the board's findings reasoning and conclusions
(c)If the decision of the board represents an affirmation of a prior ruling by both the commission and the office of judges that was entered on the same issue in
the same claim, the decision of the board may be reversed or modified by the Supreme Court of Appeals only if the decision is in clear violation of Constitutional or statutory provision, is clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, or is based upon the board's material misstatement or mischaracterization of particular components of the evidentiary record. The court may not conduct a de novo re-weighing of the evidentiary record

See Hammons v. W.Va. Off. of Ins. Comm'r, 235 W.Va. 577, 582-83, 775 S.E.2d 458, 463-64 (2015). As we previously recognized in Justice v. West Virginia Office Insurance Commission, 230 W.Va. 80, 83, 736 S.E.2d 80, 83 (2012), we apply a de novo standard of review to questions of law arising in the context of decisions issued by the Board. See also Davies v. W.Va. Off. of Ins. Comm'r, 227 W.Va. 330, 334, 708 S.E.2d 524, 528 (2011).

Mr. Ash was a plant worker for forty-four years, during which time he was exposed to hazardous dust. An April 15, 2015, CT scan of the...

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