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Crawford v. Ronald Mcdonald House Charities

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

September 26, 2019

ALI CRAWFORD, Claimant-Appellant,
v.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES, Employer-Respondent.

          APPEAL FROM THE LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION

          MARY W. SHEFFIELD, J.

         Ali Crawford ("Claimant") appeals the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission ("Commission") dismissing her application for a full Commission review of the administrative law judge's decision on her worker's compensation claim. The Commission dismissed her application after finding Claimant's application failed to satisfy the minimum requirements of 8 CSR 20-3.030(3)(A).[1] We affirm the Commission's decision.

         Background and Procedural History

         Claimant brought an action against her employer Ronald McDonald House Charities ("Employer") and its insurer, American Family Mutual Insurance Co. Claimant alleged she suffered work-related injuries for an incident that occurred on December 11, 2012. Claimant alleged she experienced a severe allergic reaction while at work because of exposure to latex.

         A hearing was held before the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Claimant testified in support of her claim and presented evidence including medical records and the deposition of a physician. Employer presented evidence, including the testimony of one witness, and the depositions of a physician and another individual. The ALJ entered its Rulings of Law, where it found the testimony of Employer's physician witness more credible than Claimant's physician witness. The ALJ concluded Claimant "failed to meet her burden of proof in either establishing she suffered an accident or that she suffered an occupational disease" and denied her claim for compensation.

         Claimant timely filed her "Application for Review" seeking review of the ALJ's decision by the full Commission. In relevant part, she alleged the ALJ's award was: erroneous for the following specific reasons:

1. The judge erred in finding that the Employer/Insurer was not liable for Claimant's injuries and for Claimant's permanent partial disability, as the only credible evidence was that the employee was injured at work on December 11, 2012, in that she was removed from her place of employment at the time of the exposure and taken to the emergency room by medical personnel suffering from an allergic reaction and as a result of the exposure, Claimant has sustained permanent partial disability.
2. The only credible evidence is that Claimant was injured while at work and [the ALJ] ignored that evidence in reaching his decision that Claimant's injuries and subsequent disability were not work related.[2]

         Employer filed a "Motion to Dismiss the Application for Review" for Claimant's failure to comply with 8 CSR 20-3.030(3)(A). The Commission agreed with Employer and dismissed Claimant's application for review. This appeal followed.

         Standard of Review

         This Court "reviews decisions by the Commission to ensure they are 'supported by competent and substantial evidence.'" White v. ConAgra Packaged Foods, LLC, 535 S.W.3d 336, 338 (Mo. banc 2017) (quoting Mo. Const. article V, § 18); Hampton v. Big Boy Steel Erection, 121 S.W.3d 220, 222 (Mo. banc 2003). This Court reviews the Commission's award to see whether: (1) the Commission acted without or in excess of its powers; (2) the award was procured by fraud; (3) the facts found by the Commission do not support the award; or (4) there was not sufficient competent evidence in the record to warrant making the award. § 287.495.1; White, 535 S.W.3d at 338. Questions of law receive de novo review. Mantia v. Missouri Dept. of Transp., 529 S.W.3d 804, 808 (Mo. banc 2017). When the Commission dismisses an application for review, the only ground for this Court's review is whether the Commission "acted without or in excess of its power." Wilkey v. Ozark Care Center Partners, L.L.C., 236 S.W.3d 101, 103 (Mo. App. S.D. 2007); Dickens v. Hannah's Enters., Inc., 360 S.W.3d 910, 913 (Mo. App. S.D. 2012).

         Discussion

         Claimant argues the Commission erred in dismissing her application for review because she met the threshold standard established in 8 CSR ...


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