Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
T. Quigless, P J
Second Injury Fund (the "Fund") appeals from an
order of the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations
Commission (the "Commission") substituting Beverly
Edwards ("Ms. Edwards") as a party to her deceased
husband's workers' compensation claim pursuant to
section 287.580.  We dismiss the
appeal for lack of a final, appealable judgment.
and Procedural History
March 28, 2006, Robert Edwards ("Mr. Edwards")
suffered a work-related injury. Thereafter, Mr. Edwards filed
a workers' compensation claim, and an administrative law
judge awarded Mr. Edwards permanent total disability
("PTD") benefits from the Fund. The award was final
on April 22, 2009 and neither party appealed.
Edwards died on September 22, 2014. Ms. Edwards subsequently
requested the Commission substitute her as a party in Mr.
Edwards's workers' compensation case pursuant to
section 287.580. In response, the Fund argued the case was no
longer "pending" at Mr. Edwards's death for the
purpose of section 287.580 because the workers'
compensation award was finalized in 2009. Thereafter, the
Commission granted the request for substitution and revived
the proceedings pursuant to section 287.580 to continue in
favor of Ms. Edwards. Specifically, the Commission held:
Under the terms of the award issued April 22, 2009, the
Second Injury Fund was obligated to tender weekly permanent
total disability benefit payments to employee, subject at all
times to possible suspension and/or modification under
§§ 287.200.3,  287.210.1 or 287.470 RSMo. For the very
narrow purpose of applying the substitution provisions under
§ 287.580, we conclude that the ongoing obligation on
the part of the Second Injury [F]und to pay weekly permanent
total disability benefits to employee [Robert Edwards]
(contingent always upon the continuation of the necessary
conditions pursuant to Chapter 287) constituted sufficient
"proceedings" in order to trigger § 287.580 in
the event of employee's death.
the Commission made it clear that the order was limited to
Ms. Edwards's substitution, stating, "We make no
findings or conclusions with respect to Ms. Edwards's
entitlement (if any) to benefits under the award of April 22,
2009." The Fund appeals.
a duty to determine sua sponte whether we have
jurisdiction to entertain an appeal. Lane v.
Lensmeyer, 158 S.W.3d 218, 222 (Mo. banc 2005). Without
jurisdiction, the appeal must be dismissed. Id. This
court has no appellate jurisdiction in a workers'
compensation case except as expressly conferred by statute.
Schwarzen v. Harrah's St. Louis Riverport, 72
S.W.3d 223, 224 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002). Section 287.495
authorizes an appeal from the "final award of the
commission" to the appellate court. Muller v. St.
Louis Housing Authority, 175 S.W.3d 191, 194 (Mo. App.
sole point on appeal, the Fund contends the Commission erred
in substituting Ms. Edwards as a party in Mr. Edwards's
workers' compensation claim under section 287.580. The
Fund asserts section 287.580 applies only where the injured
worker dies while the claim is "pending." The Fund
argues Mr. Edwards's claim was final in 2009 and, thus,
was no longer pending at the time of his death.
Commission's order substituting Ms. Edwards pursuant to
section 287.580 is merely a procedural matter that does not
reach the merits of whether she is entitled to Mr.
Edwards's PTD benefits under the Missouri Supreme
Court's decision in Schoemehl v. Treasurer of the
State of Missouri, 217 S.W.3d 900 (Mo. banc 2007).
See Taylor v. Ballard R-11 School Dist., 274 S.W.3d
629, 632 (Mo. App. W.D. 2009). Pursuant to section 287.495, a
"final award" is one which disposes of the entire
controversy between the parties. Muller, 175 S.W.3d
at 194. An award is final only when the Commission arrives at
a terminal, complete resolution of the case before it.
Id. Only a final award is appealable. Id.
In this case, the Commission's order clearly states,
"We make no findings or conclusions with respect to Ms.
Edwards's entitlement (if any) to benefits under the
award of April 22, 2009." Thus, because the Commission
never reached the merits of Ms. Edwards's claim, it did
not come to a complete, final resolution of all issues before
it, and the award did not dispose of the entire controversy
between the parties. The Commission's order, accordingly,
is not a final award. Point denied.
we dismiss this appeal based on lack of ...