Kindred v. Amalgamated Sugar Co., 17790

Decision Date18 July 1990
Docket NumberNo. 17790,17790
Citation795 P.2d 309,118 Idaho 147
PartiesLarry M. KINDRED, Claimant-Appellant, v. The AMALGAMATED SUGAR COMPANY, Employer, Defendant-Respondent.
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

John F. Greenfield, Boise, for claimant-appellant.

Richard K. Dredge, Boise, for defendant-respondent.

BOYLE, Justice.

In this worker's compensation case we are called upon to determine whether the Commission erred in denying claimant's motion for clarification of award.

Claimant-appellant, Larry Kindred (hereafter "Kindred") was employed by Amalgamated Sugar Company (hereafter "Amalgamated") in Twin Falls, Idaho between 1971 and 1984. On August 11, 1975, Kindred fell and his left leg was caught under the wheels of a railroad car resulting in the surgical amputation of the leg four inches above the knee. The facts of the case and the proceedings before the Industrial Commission are set forth in Kindred v. Amalgamated Sugar Co., 114 Idaho 284, 756 P.2d 401 (1988) (hereafter "Kindred I "), and will not be restated here.

Following this Court's decision in Kindred I, Kindred filed a motion with the Industrial Commission for clarification of his award. In his motion Kindred sought clarification of the income benefits allegedly owed to him by Amalgamated for total temporary income benefits for the periods between May 16, 1976 and December 31, 1983, and between January 1, 1985 and August 16, 1988. The Industrial Commission denied Kindred's motion for clarification on the basis that the "decision of the Commission in the above matter which was affirmed by the Supreme Court on appeal has become final through operation of law and cannot now be clarified or amended in any way." Thereafter, Kindred filed a motion for reconsideration which was also denied by the Industrial Commission on the basis that Kindred should have raised the issue of entitlement to past income and total temporary disability benefits in prior proceedings before the Commission, or while the case was on appeal to the Supreme Court. The Commission concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter and adhered to its prior order dismissing claimant's motion for clarification. This second appeal followed.

I. Industrial Commission Retained Jurisdiction

A careful review of the record before us does not disclose an express ruling by the Industrial Commission on the issue of income benefits owed claimant for the periods of May 16, 1976 through December 31, 1983, and January 1, 1985 through August 16, 1988. Rather, the record clearly reveals that the Industrial Commission specifically reserved or retained jurisdiction over the case and stated:

The Commission hereby reserves jurisdiction to determine in the future, in the event the claimant's condition is changed by additional medical treatment, whether the claimant continues to be totally disabled or whether the claimant's condition is changed to a condition of permanent partial disability. (Emphasis added.)

See Order on Denial of Petition for Rehearing. Kindred v. Amalgamated Sugar Co., 114 Idaho at 291, 756 P.2d at 408.

In Reynolds v. Browning Ferris Indus., 113 Idaho 965, 751 P.2d 113 (1988), this Court held that whenever the Industrial Commission explicitly retains jurisdiction over a matter, that act by its very nature infers that there is neither a final determination of the case nor a final permanent award to claimant. 1 Id. at 969, 751 P.2d 113; see also Horton v. Garrett Freightlines, Inc., 106 Idaho 895, 684 P.2d 297 (1984), and Brooks v. Duncan, 96 Idaho 579, 532 P.2d 921 (1975). Consequently, a decision of the Commission which does not finally dispose of all of the claimant's claims would not be a final decision subject to appeal pursuant to I.A.R. 11(d), particularly as in this case where the Industrial Commission did not rule on the issue of income benefits and expressly retained jurisdiction.

II. Appeal By Permission: I.A.R. 12

Under I.A.R. 12, a party may seek permission to appeal from an interlocutory order which is not otherwise appealable as a matter of right under I.A.R. 11(d). Generally, an appeal under I.A.R. 12 will be permitted when the order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial grounds for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal may materially advance the orderly resolution of the litigation. Budell v. Todd, 105 Idaho 2, 665 P.2d 701 (1983). Since this case has been briefed and argued we will consider and treat this appeal as an appeal by permission under I.A.R. 12.

In the instant appeal, a review of the Industrial Commission's findings of fact, conclusions of law and order dated February 6, 1987, reveals a well written decision which carefully considered all of the appropriate factors necessary for an award of total temporary disability benefits. However, after discussing the factors to be considered, the Industrial Commission did not enter a specific order awarding or denying payments for total temporary disability benefits sought by Kindred.

Amalgamated argues that the Industrial Commission's February 6, 1987 order contained a detailed analysis of all factors necessary for a determination of entitlement to temporary total disability benefits, and where the decision did not expressly grant claimant's request for those income benefits, the order should be considered to be equivalent to an order denying benefits. With this argument we cannot agree. Had the Commission not retained jurisdiction its original decision would have been final and could not have been amended or clarified in any way following Kindred I. However, the Commission did retain jurisdiction and under these circumstances it is not inappropriate for us to accept and consider the appeal as a permissive appeal under I.A.R. 12. The Worker's Compensation Act is to be construed liberally in favor of a claimant since the humane purposes for which it seeks to serve leave no room for narrow, technical construction. Hattenburg v. Blanks, 98 Idaho 485, 567 P.2d 829 (1977); Jones v. Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc., 98 Idaho 458, 567 P.2d 3 (1977). Under the circumstances presented here the Commission's failure to award benefits cannot be construed as an order denying benefits. Such a construction would be contrary to both the spirit and intent of the Worker's Compensation Act and is...

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  • In Interest of Doe, Docket No. 35004 (Idaho App. 3/31/2009), Docket No. 35004.
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    • Idaho Court of Appeals
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    ...of opinion and that an immediate appeal may materially advance the orderly resolution of the litigation." Kindred v. Amalgamated Sugar Co., 118 Idaho 147, 149, 795 P.2d 309, 311 (1990). As this appeal involves controlling questions of law, this Court exercises free review over those issues.......
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