Couture Fashions, Inc. v. Romay, AY-87

Decision Date20 December 1984
Docket NumberNo. AY-87,AY-87
Citation10 Fla. L. Weekly 37,461 So.2d 235
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 37 COUTURE FASHIONS, INC. and Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Appellants, v. Edda ROMAY and Division of Workers' Compensation, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

H. Jack Miller of Miller, Hodges & Kagan, Miami, for appellants.

David H. Levine of Ser, DeCardenas, Levine, Busch & Schnepper, and Jay M. Levy of Hershoff & Levy, Miami, for appellees.

THOMPSON, Judge.

In this appeal from an order awarding wage-loss benefits, the sole issue raised by the appellant employer/carrier (E/C) is whether the Deputy Commissioner (deputy) erred in finding that the claimant had made a good faith effort to obtain employment during the period for which benefits were claimed. Because there was an absence of competent substantial evidence to support the finding that the claimant conducted a good faith work search, we reverse.

In 1980, the claimant was involved in an industrial accident which left her with a 5% permanent impairment of her right leg and hip, and with physical limitations and restrictions which prevent her from engaging in physical labor which would involve the use of her right leg, or in any activity involving a great deal of walking. In a prior order entered in this cause on April 14, 1983, the deputy awarded wage-loss benefits for the period from the date of maximum medical improvement through February 28, 1982. On January 19, 1984 the E/C's appeal from the prior order was affirmed by this court without written opinion. 444 So.2d 418. Accordingly, the findings of fact made by the deputy in his prior order have become the law of the case. Among the findings included in the prior order were that: (1) claimant is a native of Cuba who has only a limited command of the English language, (2) claimant was then only 45 years old, (3) claimant has a high school education plus vocational training both as a machine operator and in the secretarial field, and (4) since coming to the United States claimant has been employed only as a factory worker and a machine operator.

The claim at issue in this appeal was for wage-loss benefits for the period from March 1, 1982 through March 1, 1983. Evidence adduced in connection with this claim reveals that claimant's work experience as a machine operator since her arrival in this country has been limited to work as a sewing machine operator in clothing factories, and that such work requires at least some use of the right leg. The evidence further reveals that at the hearing on the prior claim for wage-loss benefits, the claimant produced a list of the employers she had contacted in her effort to find suitable employment. The claimant produced no such list for the period after March 1, 1982. At various times during her deposition and at the hearing on the instant claim, the claimant testified that she "forgot" to continue to keep a record of employer contacts, that she "didn't even know" or "didn't remember why" she stopped keeping a work search list, and that her failure to keep such a record was "because of the nerves ... nerves, tensions, worries, I forget things ...." When deposed on April 1, 1983, the claimant testified that she could not remember the names of any of the employers she had contacted after March 1, 1982. She further testified that the only type of work she sought during the period at issue was work as a sewing machine operator, and she admitted that she had made no effort to find work through the Florida State Employment Service. When questioned as to whether she thought she could successfully return to work as a sewing machine operator in view of the fact that the work would require at least some use of her right leg, she responded that she would not know whether she would be able to return to such work without trying it, and that none of the employers she had contacted had permitted her to attempt to operate a sewing machine.

At the hearing conducted on May 11, 1983, the claimant was able to remember the names of 11 of the factories she had visited looking for work, but she gave no testimony as to the dates when she had contacted the named employers. She did testify that she had sought work during each week of the period for which benefits were claimed, and she indicated, at different times while testifying, that she had sought work "once or twice a week" or "about eight or ten times" per week or "an average of eight or ten daily." She testified that she sought work through the Spanish language newspaper, by telephoning the various clothing factories listed in the telephone book, and by making personal visits to the various...

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8 cases
  • Vlx Properties, Inc. v. Southern States Utilities, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • July 21, 2000
    ...party in the prior appeal. Therefore, those factual findings constitute the law of this case. See, e.g., Couture Fashions, Inc. v. Romay, 461 So. 2d 235 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984); see also Mulato v. Mulato, 734 So. 2d 477 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999); Thomas v. Perkins, 723 So. 2d 293 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998); ......
  • VLX PROPERTIES, INC. v. SO. STATES UTILITIES, INC.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 21, 2001
    ...13, 1996 order were not challenged by either party in VLX I, those facts became the law of the case. See, e.g., Couture Fashions, Inc. v. Romay, 461 So.2d 235 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984) (noting that because the "appeal from the prior order was affirmed by this court without written opinion ... the......
  • Vlx Properties v. Southern States Utilities
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 22, 2001
    ...1996 order were not challenged by either party in VLX I, those facts became the law of the case. See, e.g., Couture Fashions, Inc. v. Romay, 461 So. 2d 235 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984) (noting that because the "appeal from the prior order was affirmed by this court without written opinion . . . the ......
  • Wiley Jackson Co. v. Webster, BR-387
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • March 25, 1988
    ...422 So.2d 870 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982); Deltona Corporation v. Morris, 418 So.2d 1274 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982) and Couture Fashions, Inc. v. Romay, 461 So.2d 235 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984). In accordance with these general principles, this court has recognized that an order awarding wage-loss benefits to be......
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