In the Matter of Charles D. Scott
162 N.J. 571 (2000)
Decided April 27, 1999
The Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division's reversal of the final administrative decision of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Board of Review, denying temporary disability benefits under the Temporary Disability Benefits Law which applies to non-work related disabilities, based on an employee's full-time employment. In reversing, the court held that an employee who is injured on a part-time job covered by workers' compensation is not necessarily disqualified from receiving benefits under the Temporary Disability Benefits Law especially when the workers' compensation benefits received are substantially less than what the worker would have received had the accident occurred on the full-time job. The court did not address the issue of set-offs between the workers' compensation benefits and the Title 43 temporary disability benefits and remanded the case for administrative review.
Sperling v. Board of Review
156 N.J. 466 (1998)
Decided December 11, 1998
The Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division's denial of temporary disability benefits pursuant to N.J.S.A. §43:21-30, which applies to non-work related disabilities. The court held that an individual who settles a workers' compensation claim and receives a lump sum settlement pursuant to N.J.S.A. §34:15-20, acknowledges that the injury is work related under the workers' compensation act. Therefore, the individual may not obtain temporary disability benefits under N.J.S.A. §43:21-30 for the same injury.
NJ Superior Court – Appellate Division
Quereshi v. Cintas Corp.
413 N.J. Super. 492 (App. Div. 2010)
Decided May 28, 2010
The Appellate Division held that a workers’ compensation judge must award a reasonable counsel fee, in addition to a 25% penalty, when a petitioner is forced to resort to N.J.S.A. 34:15-28.1 to obtain temporary disability benefits after unreasonable delay or refusal by an employer or its carrier to pay such benefits. This “reasonable” counsel fee is not bound by the 20% limitation imposed by N.J.S.A. 34:15-64 as there is no such limitation required by the express language of section 28.1 and the intent of this statute was to make counsel fees, in the context of penalty proceedings, dependent upon the actual costs in petitioner legal fees which were incurred due to improper withholding of benefits.
Cunningham v. Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co.
386 N.J. Super. 423 (App. Div. 2006)
Decided June 26, 2006
After petitioner was terminated from his job with respondent for cause, a doctor advised petitioner that he needed treatment due to an injury he suffered on the job before his termination. The judge of compensation found petitioner eligible for temporary total disability benefits. However, the Appellate Division reversed the compensation judge’s decision and remanded the case. The appellate court held that, in order to receive temporary disability benefits, the petitioner must establish on remand that “but for” his work-related disability he would have been employed.
Wood v. Jackson Township
383 N.J. Super. 250 (App. Div. 2006)
Decided February 17, 2006
The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the workers’ compensation judge and held that petitioner’s widow was entitled to receive the full amount of compensation benefits petitioner would have received had he not been receiving Social Security disability benefits before he died at age fifty-four. Since petitioner’s Social Security disability benefits were terminated when he died, the basis for respondent’s receiving an offset under N.J.S.A. 34:15-95.5 was thereby ended, making respondent responsible for paying petitioner’s widow the full measure of workers’ compensation benefits from the date of petitioner’s death to the end of the designated period.
Tobin v. All Shore All Star Gymnastics
378 N.J. Super. 495 (App. Div. 2005)
Decided June 24, 2005
The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the workers’ compensation judge and held that petitioner, who doubled as owner and chief instructor at respondent gymnastics school, was entitled to receive total temporary disability benefits for the period of time after she became able to resume her duties as an unsalaried owner but remained unable to perform the more physically demanding job duties of salaried chief instructor.
Division Reserved Decisions
Hulitt v. Farm-Rite, Inc.
12-18007; decided September 1, 2015 by the Hon. E. Elaine Voyles, J.W.C.
Petitioner suffered injuries in a work-related motor vehicle accident and was terminated from employment with the respondent the next day. Petitioner received authorized medical treatment related to the accident and temporary disability benefits from the date of the accident until the date the treating doctor found him to have reached maximum medical improvement. Approximately two years later, petitioner filed a motion seeking additional medical treatment and temporary disability benefits. The judge of compensation granted the request for further medical treatment but denied further temporary disability benefits under N.J.S.A. 34:15-38 and the Cunningham doctrine because the petitioner failed to prove he was actually absent from work and actually lost wages/income from continued employment for the time period for which he was seeking additional temporary disability benefits.
Catalini v. AIG
08-1138; decided October 22, 2013 by the Honorable Jill M. Fader, J.W.C.
Petitioner applied for modification of an earlier award based on a leg and back injury. In response to the application, the respondent authorized petitioner to see a doctor and subsequently authorized her to receive a total knee replacement. At that time, the doctor opined that the petitioner was totally and temporarily disabled. In spite of the fact that she was receiving unemployment benefits until this time, the petitioner argued she was entitled to temporary disability benefits starting from the date of the knee replacement and continuing until she was deemed by the doctor to be at maximum medical improvement or ready to return to work. The Judge of Compensation, after applying the legal precepts set forth in Cunningham v. Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., 386 N.J. Super. 423 (App. Div.), certif. denied 188 N.J. 492 (2006), agreed and granted the requested modification because the petitioner would actually lose income as a result of being totally and temporarily disabled due to the knee replacement.
Soto v. Herr's Foods, Inc.
11-18325, decided September 7, 2012 by the Honorable Emille Cox, J.W.C.
Petitioner filed a motion in which he requested supplemental temporary disability benefits. Respondent objected and argued that, because the petitioner was returned to only minimal light duty work, his temporary disability benefits should be limited by the amount earned in such light duty capacity (rather than an amount based upon regular wages. The judge disagreed as he found that allowing a respondent to provide only minimal light duty work and thereby reduce a petitioner's temporary disability benefits would defeat the purpose of the temporary disability provisions of the workers' compensation statutes. Petitioner's motion was granted.
Jose Paucay v. Hickory Ridge Horse Farm
10-14249; decided February 7, 2011 by the Honorable Ingrid French, J.W.C.
Even though he was able to return to work at his second full-time job, petitioner alleged that he was entitled to receive continued temporary total disability benefits from this respondent because he was still receiving treatments authorized by it. The judge, however, dismissed petitioner’s argument and held that N.J.S.A. 34:15-38 requires a respondent to pay temporary total disability benefits only until a petitioner has either resumed work or is deemed permanently disabled. Since the petitioner here was able to resume full-time work for which he was being paid, the judge found he was no longer entitled to temporary disability benefits from the respondent.
Cherry v. Edmund’s Direct Mail
09-21068 decided November 29, 2010 by the Honorable Carmine J. Taglialatella, J.W.C.
Petitioner claimed that she was entitled to restoration of temporary disability benefits after: her left foot was run over by a forklift at work, she was treated and released from care by an authorized physician, she received temporary disability benefits during the time of this treatment, she was placed on permanent restrictions in her ability to work, she was terminated from her job because respondent could not accommodate her medical restrictions, she consequently received unemployment benefits (which ceased after a year), and she afterward needed further treatment for the foot wound. Respondent accepted responsibility for providing additional necessary medical treatment, but denied any temporary disability was due petitioner during the time of such follow-up treatment. After reviewing pertinent statutes and caselaw, the Judge of Compensation found the petitioner was entitled to temporary disability benefits during the time of such authorized follow-up treatment.
Salmons v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
98-08251, decided March 6, 2000 by the Honorable Neale F. Hooley, J.W.C.
The workers’ compensation judge found that the petitioner did not have to accept light-duty on a different shift and that she was entitled to a continuation of temporary benefits.