South Carolina Businesses Await Lowes’ Motion on Rehearing of Critical WC Case
The South Carolina business community expects to hear “any day now” on a rehearing request made by Lowes to the state Supreme Court on a case, Clemmons v. Lowe’s Home Center, where the court ruled that Clemmons was totally and permanently disabled. The court ruled in March that the ability to work, alone, (Clemmons worked for two years after the initial back injury) was insufficient to rebut the presumption and indicated that, because this award was under the scheduled member part of the Act, the Employer needed to present medical evidence that the Claimant was not permanently and totally disabled.
After initial treatment by his authorized doctor, Clemmons was assigned a 25% whole person impairment rating based on the injury to his cervical spine. He returned to work with restrictions. Over the next two years he sought no additional care.
Clemmons then received two other medical opinions; both of them said he had lost more than 50% of the use of his back. But based on the authorized treating physician’s impairment rating, the Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded Clemmons a 48% disability to his back.
In early June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo to DOJ staff ordering a stop to directing settlement money from legal actions against financial institutions going to politically active third party groups. On June 7 Sessions “issued the attached memo to all Department of Justice components and 94 United States Attorney’s Offices prohibiting them from entering into any agreement on behalf of the United States in settlement of federal claims or charges that directs or provides for a settlement payment to non-governmental, third parties that were not directly harmed by the conduct.”
“When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people— not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power,” Sessions wrote. “Unfortunately, in recent years the Department of Justice has sometimes required or encouraged defendants to make these payments to third parties as a condition of settlement. With this directive, we are ending this practice and ensuring that settlement funds are only used to compensate victims, redress harm, and punish and deter unlawful conduct.”
CJR will continue to monitor the fate of settlement money in these cases.
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