Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Thompson, 1D07-2661.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtKahn
Citation974 So.2d 516
PartiesWAL-MART STORES INC. and Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., Appellants, v. Beverly THOMPSON, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 1D07-2661.,1D07-2661.
Decision Date06 February 2008
974 So.2d 516
WAL-MART STORES INC. and Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., Appellants,
Beverly THOMPSON, Appellee.
No. 1D07-2661.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.
February 6, 2008.

G. Dennis Lynn of James T. Earle, Jr., P.A., St. Petersburg, for Appellants.

Jodi A. Zakaria and Alfred L. Deutschman of Deutschman & Zakaria, Inverness, for Appellee.


This case accentuates the Florida Legislature's recent redefinition of the threshold for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits in a workers' compensation case. We affirm the order of the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC), awarding PTD benefits, because the judge properly applied the law and the judge's conclusions are supported by competent substantial evidence.

From January 1, 1994, until October 1, 2003, the effective date of chapter 2003-412, section 18, Laws of Florida, a claimant seeking PTD was bound to demonstrate "a catastrophic injury as defined in s. 440.02." § 440.15(1)(b), Fla. Stat. (1995); see ch. 2003-412, § 18, at 3917, Laws of Fla. Under the definition section referenced by the catastrophic injury requirement, claimant had to prove industrial causation and that the injury complained of was "of a nature and severity that would qualify an employee to receive disability income benefits under Title II ... of the federal Social Security Act." § 440.02(34)(f), Fla. Stat. (1995); see also Home Depot v. Turner, 820 So.2d 1075 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002).

The date of injury here was October 7, 2005, and accordingly, the revised version of section 440.15 applies. Under that version, "in order to obtain permanent total

disability benefits, the employee must establish that he or she is not able to engage in at least sedentary employment, within a 50-mile radius of the employee's residence, due to his or her physical limitation." § 440.15(1)(b), Fla. Stat. (2005). The claimant utilized expert vocational testimony to satisfy the requirements of the controlling statute. The JCC accepted this testimony, but also expressed frustration with the change in the statutory language, noting in the final order:

[I]t is nearly incomprehensible that claimant would be entitled to benefits for a disability that is both total and permanent. However, the facts before the undersigned support a finding that the claimant has sustained both a permanent impairment rating and permanent physical restrictions as a result of her industrial accident.

The claimant's...

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2 cases
  • Garcia v. Fence Masters, Inc., 1D08-5275.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 6 August 2009
    ...seeking benefits. See Ferrell Gas v. Childers, 982 So.2d 36, 37 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008); see also Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Thompson, 974 So.2d 516, 517 (Fla. 1st DCA Here, the JCC made no finding as to which, if any, vocational impairments or factors she considered in denying benefits. Moreover......
  • BLAKE v. MERCK, 1D09-5464.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 7 September 2010
    ...the individual seeking benefits." See also Ferrell Gas v. Childers, 982 So.2d 36 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Thompson, 974 So.2d 516, 517 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008). In Commercial Carrier Corp. v. LaPointe, 723 So.2d 912, 916-17 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999), we recognized three ways to pr......

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