from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
Division Three: Gary D. Witt, Presiding Judge, Edward R.
Ardini, Jr., Judge and Thomas N. Chapman, Judge
D. WITT, JUDGE
Scott Davidson ("Davidson") appeals from an order
of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
("Commission") dismissing Davidson's
application to review his injury settlement with Davidson
Masonry & Construction, LLC ("Davidson
Masonry") and its insurer, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance
Co. ("Grinnell Mutual"). Davidson alleges that the
Commission erred in finding that it was not authorized to
review the settlement despite Davidson's allegation that
it was fraudulently obtained. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
fractured his right ankle on October 29, 2016, while working
on a jobsite for his employer, Davidson Masonry. As a result,
Davidson underwent surgery that included implanting screws
and hardware into his ankle. Davidson filed a timely claim
for workers' compensation benefits. Davidson's
surgeon released him from treatment and found that he had
reached maximum medical improvement. Following that release,
on September 27, 2018, Davidson along with counsel
representing both Davidson Masonry and Grinnell Mutual
appeared before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")
seeking approval of a proposed settlement between the
appeared pro se at the settlement conference
although the ALJ's notes reflect that Davidson stated he
had talked with an attorney prior to the conference. The ALJ
conducted a hearing, which included placing Davidson under
oath and asking standard questions to determine if he
understood the nature of the settlement and did in fact agree
to its terms. At the conclusion of the hearing the ALJ
approved a Stipulation for Compromised Settlement
("Settlement") signed by Davidson and counsel for
Davidson Masonry and Grinnell Mutual. Under the Settlement,
Davidson received a lump sum settlement of $11, 097.92. The
Settlement provided that it left "medical open for
removal of screws and hardware" which the parties agreed
would occur at a later date and would be paid for by Davidson
October 11, 2018, an attorney entered his appearance as
counsel for Davidson and filed a Motion to Set Aside
Settlement Agreement ("Motion"), alleging that
Grinnell Mutual had intentionally misrepresented the
applicable temporary total disability rate, thus fraudulently
induced Davidson to settle for less than he was entitled. A
conference call was held with the ALJ and counsel for the
parties on October 15, 2018, during which the ALJ advised the
parties that he retained no jurisdiction to address the
the conference call, Davidson filed an Application for Review
with the Commission, again asserting that the Settlement
should be set aside because it was induced by fraud. On
October 25, 2018, counsel for Davidson Masonry and Grinnell
Mutual filed an Answer to Application for Review asserting
that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to review the
January 30, the Commission entered an order stating that it
was "not authorized to consider employee's
application for review, " and that the Application for
Review was therefore dismissed. This appeal followed.
commission is a statutorily created entity and its
jurisdiction and authority is defined solely by
statute." State ex rel. ISP Minerals, Inc. v. Labor
and Indus. Relations Comm'n, 465 S.W.3d 471, 473
(Mo. banc 2015). "Decisions of the Commission in
workers' compensation proceedings that are clearly an
interpretation or application of law, as distinguished from a
determination of fact, are not binding upon [the court of
appeals] and fall within [the appellate court's] province
of review and correction." Shockley v. Laclede Elec.
Co-op., 825 S.W.2d 44, 46 (Mo. App. S.D. 1992) (quoting
West v. Posten Const. Co., 804 S.W.2d 743, 744 (Mo.
banc 1991)). This Court has authority pursuant to section
287.495.1(1) to review whether the Commission acted
within its statutory powers. Section 287.495.1(1). Whether
the Commission acted within its statutory powers is a
question of law which this Court reviews de novo.
Treasurer of State-Custodian of Second Injury Fund v.
Witte, 414 S.W.3d 455, 460 (Mo. banc 2013).
finding that it lacked statutory authority to review the
Settlement, the Commission relied on Shockley v. Laclede
Electric Cooperative, 825 S.W.2d 44 (Mo. App. S.D.
1992). In Shockley the employee entered into a
settlement with his employer following a workplace injury.
Id. at 45. The settlement was approved by an
administrative law judge. Id. at 46. Nearly two
years later, Shockley filed an amended claim for benefits
seeking to reopen his claim requesting additional benefits
based on the claim that had been previously settled.
Id. at 45. The Commission denied review stating that
it lacked jurisdiction to review settlement; Shockley
appealed. Id. at 46. The Southern District of this
Court agreed with the Commission's finding that
"[w]hen a settlement is approved, 'the ...