Today’s Workers’ Compensation Decisions by the NC Court of Appeals

Cannizzaro v. Food Lion: The court affirmed the decision of the Industrial Commission, which found that the plaintiff’s accident caused his psychiatric conditions.  The court concluded that, although not a physician, a psychologist specializing in neurological and cognitive psychology with significant experience with traumatic brain injuries was qualified to provide expert testimony.

D’Aquisto v. Mission St. Joseph’s Health Sys.: The Commission can award plaintiff attorneys’ fees under N.C.G.S. 97-88 for the costs of appeals even if it cannot award fees under N.C.G.S. 97-88.1 (fees for an unreasonable defense).  Also, fees could be awarded by the Commission after all other issues had been decided.

Moore v. Sulbark Builders: Generally, under N.C.G.S. 97-12, an employee cannot receive workers’ compensation if their accident was due to intoxication or being under the influence of a controlled substance.  The court affirmed the decision of the Commission, which found that the plaintiff was not under the influence and that the plaintiff was disabled.  A simple drug screen that was positive for an unknown amount of marijuana was insufficient evidence of intoxication given the testimony of the experts.

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