Hilyard Drilling Co., Inc. v. Janes

Decision Date02 January 1985
Citation462 So.2d 942
PartiesHILYARD DRILLING COMPANY, INC. v. Graham JANES. Civ. 4472.
CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals

Augustine Meaher, III and James E. Robertson, Jr. of Lyons, Pipes & Cook, Mobile, for appellant.

Broox G. Garrett, Jr. of Garretts, Thompson & Hines, Brewton, for appellee.

WRIGHT, Presiding Judge.

This is a workmen's compensation case.

The employer appeals from an award of permanent total disability benefits to the claimant by the Escambia County Circuit Court. A detailed statement of the facts is unnecessary, as the employer does not contest the finding of disability, but only contends that the duration of the award was not properly limited or defined.

The employer raises two issues on appeal. First, it contends that any award of permanent total disability benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Act should terminate when the claimant reaches age 65. The employer argues that the claimant would have retired then anyway, and that because of that fact, would have suffered no further loss of earning capacity after age 65.

Second, the employer contends that the trial court should have made provisions in its award for subsequent unrelated injuries or infirmities to the claimant that would impair his ability to return to work.

The workmen's compensation laws are remedial in nature and are to be liberally construed and applied in order to effect their beneficient purposes. Orkin Exterminating Co. v. Williams, 389 So.2d 935 (Ala.Civ.App.1980). An employee covered under the workmen's compensation law is entitled to be fully compensated for his job-related injury, and provisions of the law should be liberally construed to accomplish that result. Haggard v. Uniroyal, Inc., 423 So.2d 865 (Ala.Civ.App.1982). All reasonable doubts regarding a provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act should be resolved in favor of the employee. American Tennis Courts, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.), cert. denied, 378 So.2d 239 (Ala.1979).

Before the Alabama Legislature amended the Workmen's Compensation Act in 1975, an award for permanent total disability was limited, as were other disability awards, to a specified number of weeks (650). Title 26, § 279(D)(1), Code of Alabama 1940 (Recomp.1958) (as amended 1973).

Act No. 86, Acts of Alabama 1975, amended the Workmen's Compensation Act. The preamble to Act No. 86 stated that, among other things, the Act was "defining permanent total disability and extending benefits for the duration of the disability." 1975 Ala.Acts 86. (Emphasis added.) Title 26, § 279(D)(1) was amended to provide that an award for permanent total disability "shall be paid during such permanent total disability." 1975 Ala.Acts 86 § 5. This amended section, now § 25-5-57(a)(4)a., Code of Alabama 1975, deletes the statutory limitation on the duration of payment of permanent total disability benefits.

Under the new section, it is true that an award for permanent total disability compensation may not be made for a period defined as "for and during his natural lifetime," because the period of compensation lasts only as long as the disability continues. Thompson & Company Contractors v. Cole, 391 So.2d 1042 (Ala.Civ.App.1980) [construing § 25-5-57(a)(4)a.]. However, the employer's contention that the claimant's imminent retirement (age) should be considered to reduce an award of compensation is a contention that has been expressly rejected by the courts of this state. Black Diamond Coal Mining Co. v....

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16 cases
  • Middleton v. Dan River, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • August 15, 1985
    ...in nature and are to be liberally construed and applied in order to effect their beneficent purposes." Hilyard Drilling Co., Inc. v. Janes, 462 So.2d 942, 943 (Ala.Civ. App.1985). "An employee covered under the workmen's compensation law is entitled to be fully compensated for his job-relat......
  • State ex rel. Baker Material Handling Corp. v. Indus. Comm.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • May 4, 1994
    ......Consolidation Coal Co. v. Yance [1992], 63 Ohio St.3d 460, 588 N.E.2d 845, ..., Baker's representative, Industrial Advisors Bureau, Inc"., advised claimant's attorney as follows: .        \xC2"...Litwin Corp. (Alaska 1989), 780 P.2d 1007; Hilyard Drilling Co., Inc. v. Janes (Ala.Civ.App.1985), 462 So.2d ......
  • Shiek v. North Dakota Workers Comp. Bureau
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • October 16, 2001
    ...[¶ 23] Other courts have recognized that permanent disability benefits do not terminate on retirement. See Hilyard Drilling Co., Inc. v. Janes, 462 So.2d 942, 943 (Ala.Civ.App.1985); Bailey v. Litwin Corp., 780 P.2d 1007, 1010-11 (Alaska 1989); Franco v. Industrial Comm'n, 130 Ariz. 37, 633......
  • Alexander v. Jitney Jungle Stores of America, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • October 20, 1995
    ...be liberally construed in favor of the employee in order to advance and effectuate their beneficent purposes. Hilyard Drilling Co. v. Janes, 462 So.2d 942 (Ala.Civ.App.1985). If we were to say that, as a matter of law, the reason given by [the employer] is a conclusively legitimate reason, ......
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