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Bradley v. Constr. Labor Contrs.

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

February 24, 2016

TERRY BRADLEY
v.
CONSTRUCTION LABOR CONTRACTORS, et al

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. John F. Fader, II, JUDGE

         ARGUED BY: David K. Stesch (Law Office of Seymour R. Goldstein on the brief) all of Baltimore, MD. FOR APPELLANT

         ARGUED BY: E. Meredith Schreibfeder (Jamie L. DeSisto, Thomas, Thomas & Hafer, LLP of Baltimore, MD), (Scott E. Massengill, Attorney General of Towson, MD). (Dane A. Ruttum, Law Offices of Joseph M. Jagielski of Baltimore, MD). (Kelli M. Rives, Law Offices of Pamela Randi Johnson of Hunt Valley, MD). FOR APPELLEE

         ARGUED BEFORE Eyler, Deborah S., Meredith, Wilner, Alan M. (Retired, Specially Assigned), JJ.

          OPINION

Page 380

         [227 Md.App. 65] Wilner, J.

         Before us is an action for judicial review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Commission denying appellant's claim for compensation on jurisdictional grounds. The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, concluding that the petition for judicial review was untimely, dismissed it. We shall vacate the judgment of the Circuit Court and remand for further proceedings.

         [227 Md.App. 66] BACKGROUND

         Appellant is a carpenter who was a resident of Tennessee. In July 2010, he was employed by Innovated Construction LLC (Innovated), a Kentucky company, to come to Maryland to do work at a Sam's Club facility in Baltimore County. He claimed that, later that month, he became employed by Construction Labor Contractors (CLC). In August 2010, he was injured when a Sam's Club employee operating a forklift struck him.

         Appellant filed a claim with the Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission against Innovated, CLC, Rand Construction Company, and the Maryland Uninsured Employers Fund. The claim was contested, as to whether appellant was a

Page 381

" covered employee" and as to who was appellant's employer for purposes of the Workers' Compensation law. Neither the claim nor any of the initial responses to it have been included in the record, so the precise articulation of those issues, as first presented to the Commission, is unclear.

         In an order dated December 8, 2010, the Commission, through Commissioner Macleay, concluded that Innovated was the correct employer but that, because appellant was a Tennessee resident and Innovated was a Kentucky company, the Maryland Commission had no jurisdiction, and, for that reason, the claim was disallowed. Thus began the saga that followed.

          The Workers' Compensation Law provides two options, other than acquiescence, when a party is aggrieved by a Commission decision. Md. Code, § 9-726(a) of the Labor and Employment Article (LE) permits a party, within 15 days after the decision, to file with the Commission a written motion for a rehearing. Alternatively, LE § 9-737 permits an aggrieved party, within 30 days after the mailing of the decision, to file an action for judicial review in accordance with the Rules in Title 7 of the Maryland Rules.[1] Appellant chose [227 Md.App. 67] the first option. On December 23, 2010, he filed a request for rehearing, complaining that Commissioner Macleay had not properly applied the applicable statute (LE § 9-203(b)(1)) in dismissing his claim because Innovated had no workers' compensation insurance applicable to injuries sustained in Maryland.[2]

         On January 11, 2011, Commissioner Macleay filed a memorandum stating that, following review of the request, the Commission had decided to schedule the matter for a rehearing, and, on February 8, 2011, the Commission sent notice that the rehearing would be held on April 13, 2011. On April 7, however, upon a joint request, a continuance was granted. The reason stated for the requested continuance was that the existence, vel non, of workers' compensation insurance applicable to injuries occurring in Maryland may resolve the claim and, in that regard, Auto Owners Mutual Insurance Company (Auto Owners), Innovated's workers' compensation insurer, was being impleaded as a party. On July 7, 2011, however, before the rehearing was rescheduled, Commissioner Macleay issued ...


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